THE EDUCATOR - September 9 2019

Tribunal Upholds Onuigbo’s Victory

  • Upturns Orji Kalu’s Victory, Orders Supplementary Election   

The Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia, Abia State has upheld the election of the member representing Ikwuano/Umuahia/North/South federal constituency during the 23, February, 2019, National Assembly Elections.

Rep. Onuigbo’s re-election was being contested by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Martins Ikechukwu Apugo.
In a unanimous judgment delivered by a member of the panel, Justice I.P.C Igw,  the tribunal upheld Rep. Onuigbo’s victory.

Responding, Rep. Onuigbo stated that the victory was not about him but a reflection of the fact that the “people of Ikwuano/Umuahia, decided during that election it was time to embrace purposeful and effective representation as against using the constituency as a compensatory gesture to random persons. Today, that choice has been given a solid judicial underlining. “

He thanked his constituents and used the opportunity to call on “Hon. Martins Ikechukwu Apugo, to now place the good of the people of Ikwuano/Umuahia as paramount, and join hands with him in building a better constituency for the people. “

Reposting, one of his constituents who was very happy with the victory, and the Presiding Bishop of Fruitful Assembly International, Bishop O.U Prince, said he was never unsure of Rep. Onuigbo’s victory as God had already told him that victory was assured. Bishop O.U Prince said that while he prayed to God, he was motivated by the unprecedented attainments of Rep. Onuigbo. He advised all parties to join hands with Rep. Onuigbo to make the constituency better. He called Rep. Onuigbo’s return as the first returning member of the House of Representatives for Ikwuano/Umuahia federal constituency as a divine mandate, which should be embraced by the entire constituents as a sign from God.

Meanwhile, the National and State Houses Assembly Election Petition sitting in Abia State, has nullified the election of Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu  as Senator representing Abia North District.

This followed the tribunal's upholding of the petition filed against the election by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP candidate, Mao Ohuabunwa.
Ohuabunwa in his petition sought the nullification of the Kalu's declaration as winner of the Abia North Senatorial seat on the ground of non compliance with the electoral act.

The petitioner accused the first respondent, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC of exclussion of votes in result collation and disenfranchisement of many voters, as well as non application of  the margin of lead principle with respect to the February 23 election.

In a unanimous judgement delivered by a member of the panel, Justice I.P.C Igwe, the panel  holds  that the petitioner had successfully proved his allegations of substantial non compliance with the guidelines on conduct of elections.

The panel holds that since all parties were in agreement that elections took place peacefully in all parts of the senatorial zone, INEC, failed in its duty to ensure that all polling unit results were duly recorded in the relevant ward and local government result sheets.

The tribunal also faults INEC's  exclusion of over thirty thousand votes from Arochukwu Council Area alone without any explanation for such decision, noting that the figure was much higher than the margin of lead of the second  respondent, Kalu.

It therefore orders supplementary elections in all the affected areas within 90 days and the results duly collated and winner announced.