IMO, (iexclusivenews) -The Imo Sate National and State House of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal has nullified the election of Ikenga Ugochinyere.
Ugochinyere is a member of the House of Representatives representing Ideato North/South Federal Constituency.
Ikenga Ugochinyere was elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the February 25, 2023 general election.
The tribunal, in a unanimous decision on Sunday, ruled that Ugochinyere was not validly nominated by the PDP.
And ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to conduct a supplementary election in the constituency within 90 days.
Why Ikenga Ugochinyere Was Sacked
The tribunal, which conducted its proceedings in Nasarawa State, delivered its lead judgement through its Chairman, Justice Anthony Olotu Akpovi.
The judgement followed a petition that was filed by candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr. Abazu Chika Benson.
Mr. Benson had challenged the outcome of the election, arguing that Ugochinyere was not qualified to participate in the House of Reps contest.
He cited section 84 (5) (c)of the Electoral Act 2022, which stipulates that a primary election must be held at a venue within the constituency.
According to Benson, the PDP conducted its primary election on May 25, 2022, at Aladinma Shopping Mall, a location that was outside Ideato North/South Federal Constituency.
He contended that this invalidated the nomination and sponsorship of Ugochinyere by the PDP.
The tribunal agreed with Benson’s argument and held that Ugochinyere was not validly nominated as at the time of the election.
It also held that all the votes that were credited to him amounted to wasted votes.
What Next for Ideato North/South Constituency
The tribunal further held that owing to the principle of margin of lead, candidate of the Labour Party, LP, Obi Paschal Chigozie.
Who came second in the election with 5,696 votes, could not be declared the winner of the seat.
This was because INEC admitted that it could not hold election in 55 polling units in the constituency due to activities of unknown gunmen.
The tribunal noted that these polling units had a total of 12, 000 registered voters who could not exercise their franchise.
Therefore, it ordered INEC to conduct a supplementary election in these polling units within 90 days with all the parties participating except the PDP.
It will be recalled that INEC had declared Ugochinyere as winner of the election with a total of 13, 026 votes.
Benson who was sponsored by the APC came third with a total of 2, 368 votes.
Cited as 1st to 5th respondents in the petition marked: EPT/IM/HR/10/2023 were; INEC, Ugochinyere, PDP, Chigozie and his party, LP.
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