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Tribunals nullify election of Benue APC senator, Enugu LP Rep

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The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Enugu on Friday nullified the return of the Labour Party’s candidate, Prof. Sunday Nnamchi, as the House of Representatives member for Enugu East/Isi-Uzo Federal Constituency in Enugu State.

Delivering judgment in the petition filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Prince Cornelius Nnaji, the three-man panel of justices led by A. M. Abubakar declared Nnaji duly elected in the election held on February 25, 2023.

The petitioner, Prince Nnaji, a one-term federal lawmaker, had challenged the declaration of Nnamchi by the Independent National Electoral Commission as the winner of the election because the respondent was not duly sponsored and qualified to contest the election on the platform of the Labour Party.

In its unanimous decision, the tribunal agreed with the petitioner that the candidate of the Labour Party was not qualified to contest the election.

Meanwhile, a former governor of Benue State, Chief Samuel Ortom, and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party in the state have sent a congratulatory message to Senator Gabriel Suswam on his victory at the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal as the winner of the 2023 election for Benue North East Senatorial District.

Ortom, in a statement issued by his media aide, Terver Akase, said the victory had further proven the capacity of the judiciary to uphold justice and serve as the bastion of democracy.

The former governor commended his predecessor for following the legal process to get justice and congratulated the PDP in the state.

In its congratulatory message, the leadership of the party in Benue commended the tribunal for delivering substantial justice in the petition based on the facts and evidence.

In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Bemgba Iortyom added, “The party rejoices over the victory won, particularly as it re-establishes its dominance in the upper chamber membership composition of the National Assembly in the state with two Senators out of three.

“This victory of Senator Suswam serves to heighten the hopes that PDP will likewise reclaim the governorship of the state at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal through the judgment being awaited.

The tribunal, led by Justice Ory Zik-Ikeorha, sacked Senator Emmanuel Udende of the All Progressive Congress in Benue State and declared Suswam of the PDP the winner of the senatorial election held on February 25, 2023.

The tribunal said Suswam and the PDP fulfilled the requirements of the law in proving their case of irregularities such as mutilation, non-signing of documents, and non-inclusion of lawful votes, among others.

It, therefore, cancelled 51,895 votes entered for Udende and also cancelled 21,229 votes entered for Suswam.

After subtracting the padded votes, Suswam was left with 90,590 votes, while Udende had 82,699 votes.
However, one of the three members of the panel held that the evidence provided by the former governor was grossly insufficient to sustain his petition.

He, therefore, dismissed the petition and awarded the cost of N100,000 in favor of each of the respondents against the petitioners.

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