April 17, 2024

Edo Assembly: APC Gains Ground, as Tribunal Sacks PDP House of Assembly Member

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By Reporter

The State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal in Edo State yesterday October 27, 2023, upheld the election of Ms Natasha Osawaru of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as the valid elected member representing Egor Constituency in the Edo State House of Assembly.

Aghedo

Denrick Uhunwagho of the Labour Party (LP) had in his petition, alleged that the election was marred with electoral malpractices, as a result of manipulation, violence, and non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2022.

Justice M.U El-Mainari while reading the judgement, however dismissed the petition for lack of merit and noted that the petitioner failed to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt.

Uhunwagho

In the petition brought by Mr Sunday Aghedo of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the tribunal nullified the election of Mr Destiny Enabulele of the PDP, member representing Ovia South West Constituency in the State House of Assembly on the ground of non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2022 as amended.

The tribunal headed by Justice A.O Chijoke agreed with the petitioner and declared the APC candidate in the election, as the winner.

The tribunal ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to withdraw the Certificate of Return earlier issued to Enabulele.

It would be recalled that election attracted wide media coverage after INEC declared the outcome inconclusive and ordered a byelection for April 15, 2023. INEC subsequently declared Enabulele the winner of the election after pulling a total votes of 8,661 as against 7,946 votes of Aghedo.

Enabulele

But the APC and Aghedo were not satisfied with the INEC declaration and dragged the alleged winner and his party, PDP before the election petition tribunal.

The petitioners contended that the byelection held by INEC was manipulated with irregularities, malpractices and non-compliance with the Electoral Act as well as over-voting and invalid votes in the election.

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While giving the judgement, the judge stated that the tribunal relied on evidences provided by the petitioner and arguments canvassed by parties and before deducting 1000 votes from the votes erroneously credited to Destiny Enabulele by INEC.

Justice Chijioke held that the 1000 votes were invalid as a result of corrupt practices, manipulation of figures and non-compliance with the 2022 electoral act.

With this judgement, the numerical strength of PDP has reduced to 14, while the APC has risen to 9, and LP is left with 1 vote.

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