The National Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, has dismissed a petition filed by the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, Chief Chinedum Orji, against the member representing the Ikwuano/Umuahia North/South Federal Constituency, Chief Obi Aguocha, of the Labour Party.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Aguocha the winner of the February 25, 2023 House of Representatives election, after polling a total number of 48,199 votes to defeat Orji, who polled 35,196 votes.
However, not satisfied with the outcome of the election, Orji, who is the former speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly and son of former governor Theodore Orji, approached the tribunal to seek redress.
Ruling on the matter on Thursday, September 7, 2023, the tribunal led by Justice Abubakar Kutigi, held that the membership of a political party was a pre-election matter, adding that the tribunal lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the matter, which should have been decided before the election.
He also ruled that the petitioner failed to prove that the respondent was not duly nominated by LP, as the issue concerning the candidate of a party in an election is an internal party affair.
The tribunal equally struck out the allegation of overvoting against the respondent by the petitioner, saying that he failed to prove it beyond every reasonable doubt.