Tribunal Sacks PDP Reps Member Ikenga Ugochinyere, Orders Fresh Election In 90 Days

A member of the House of Representatives on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ikenga Ugochinyere, has been sacked by the Imo State National and State House of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal.

Ugochinyere, a freshman in the House suffered the judicial defeat on Sunday after the three-member panel took a unanimous decision at its sitting in Nasarawa State, where it conducted all its proceedings.

The tribunal consequently ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to within 90 days, conduct a supplementary election in the Ideato North/South Federal Constituency.

The lawmaker was declared the winner of the election which was held on February 25.

Delivering the judgment, the Chairman of the tribunal Justice Anthony Olotu Akpovi, specifically directed the INEC to conduct the supplementary poll in 55 polling units where elections did not hold on February 25.

The tribunal further directed INEC to exclude the PDP from the supplementary election.

The candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Abazu Chika Benson had lodged the petition arguing that the PDP conduct its primary election for the constituency outside the constituency which was against the 2022 electoral act as amended.

He further prayed the court to declare as waste all the votes the PDP got during the election.

INEC was cited as 1st respondent in the petirion marked EPT/IM/HR/10/2023 while Ugochinyere, PDP, candidate of the Labour Party, Obi Paschal Chigozie and his party, the LP were cited as 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th respondents respectively.

THE WHISTLER that reports INEC had declared the PDP candidate the winner of the election with 13, 026 votes.

The Labour Party candidate Chigozie, came second with 5,696 votes, while the petitioner of the APC, came third with 2, 368 votes.

The tribunal said available evidence showed the PDP conducted its primary in a location that was contrary to the electoral act.

It noted that the PDP, by conducting its primary at Aladinma Shopping Mall, a location that was outside Ideato North/South Federal Constituency was against the provision of section 84 (5) ©️ of the Electoral Act 2022.

Declaring that the primary was invalid, the tribunal noted that, “Failure of the 3rd respondent (PDP) to abide by the sacrosanct provision of the Electoral Act invalidated its sponsorship of the 2nd respondent.”

It however decline to declare the APC candidate the winner noting that the margin of lead between him and the Labour Party candidate was insignificant being that INEC admitted it could not conduct elections in 55 polling units due to activities of unknown gunmen.

Other members of the panel that concurred with the judgement, were Justices Usman Kudu and Ibrahim Mohammed.

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