News Beyond Boundaries

Abia Central: Tribunal upholds Orji’s election

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By Toby Prince

The National and State House of Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia has affirmed the election of Theodore Orji as the senator representing Abia Central Senatorial District.

Delivering a unanimous judgment on Tuesday, the Chairman of the three-member panel, Justice Adeyinka Adebirigbe, dismissed the petition on the ground that the petitioner failed to prove her allegations of electoral irregularities.

Nkechi Nwogu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had approached the tribunal to challenge the election of Mr Orji of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for failure to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act.

Mrs Nwogu specifically alleged irregularities in 215 polling units in the area during the February 23 poll and urged the tribunal to order a rerun.

However, the tribunal in its judgment held that the petitioner failed to adduce substantial evidence to prove her allegations.

It held that the petitioner only called one polling unit agent as witness out of the 215 polling units which, it said, was not enough to prove her case.

The tribunal in dismissing the case awarded N500,000 cost each in favour of Mr Orji, the PDP, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

In a reaction, the counsel for PDP, Obinna Nkume, hailed the judgment, saying that it would stand the test of time.

“Even if they decide to appeal, there is no way out because it is a pronouncement based on decided cases,” he said.

Also, the Counsel for INEC, Obinna Azode, said the petitioner “was supposed to call credible witnesses, who would give evidence in support of her claims.”

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