Ogbonnaya Ikokwu, Umuahia
The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia the Abia State capital has dismissed a petition filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Anthony Agbazuere, against the member representing Isiala Ngwa North and South Federal Constituency, chief Ginger Onwusibe, of the Labour Party.
The tribunal also dismissed another petition filed by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress Chijoke Ikpo, against Onwusibe.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Onwusibe the winner of the February 25, election in the constituency after polling a total of 20,411 votes to defeat Agbazuere who scored 13,508 votes and the APC candidate who polled 2976 votes.
The petitioners had told the Court to disqualify Onwusibe, over non compliance with the electoral act and alleged irregularities during the election.
Agbazuere had prayed the tribunal to disqualify the respondent for not resigning officially from the PDP before joining the Labour Party.
He also told the Court that INEC was not given any notice 30 days before the party congress, where the respondent emerged as the LP candidate for the election.
The respondent through his counsel, Mr Okite l. Okite, informed the court that the matter the petitioners brought to the tribunal were pre- election matters that had already been decided in the favour of his client in the Supreme Court.
But in a unanimous judgement, the panel led by Justice Hajaratu Hajjo Lawal, ruled that the tribunal lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the matter on the allegations of non compliance with the electoral act against the respondent, which had been decided by supreme Court as a pre election matter.
He also ruled that the allegations of irregularities in 3 wards in the Constituency were not proven beyond every reasonable doubt to have affected the outcome of the election result.
The tribunal therefore struck out the two petitions for lacking in merit and declared the respondent as dully elected.
The campaign director of the respondent Mr Onwere Nmesirionye, hailed the judgement saying it was the true reflection of the will of his constituents.
He reassured his constituents that Onwusibe will work assiduously to make good laws and attract meaningful projects to the Constituency.