Tribunal Declares Ndudi Elumelu, Winner, Sacks Labour Party’s Ngozi Okolie As Reps Member ….Its Victory for Democracy, Rule of Law – Elumelu

The election of Mr. Ngozi Okolie of Labour Party as member representing Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency of Delta State in the House of Representatives was on Monday nullified by the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Asaba, Delta State.

In about 107-page judgement that lasted over five hours, the three-member tribunal headed by Justice A.Z. Mussa, disqualified Okolie and consequently declared the runner up in the February 25, 2023 National Assembly election, Ndudi Elumelu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as winner.

Elumelu, who is the immediate past Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, had in petition number EPT/DL/HR/06/2023, approached the tribunal, seeking to disqualify Okolie on the grounds that he was not properly sponsored by the Labour Party and that he did not resign his position as a public office holder.

The tribunal agreed with the petitioners that the Second Respondent (Okolie) was not duly sponsored by the Third Respondent (Labour Party) as he was not a member of the party as at May 28, 2022 when the LP primary purportedly held.

The tribunal also resolved in favour of the petitioners that the Second Respondent did not resign from public office to contest the elections which is in violation of the provision of the law.

In an interview with newsmen the Petitioners’ Counsel, Andrew Osememedua Odum, SAN, described the judgement as “a correct exposition of jurisprudence and the law.”

“We also proved and the tribunal agreed with us that there was no primaries, there was no sponsorship, the Labour Party did not conduct any primaries for the National Assembly election.

“Sections 65 and 66 of the Constitution require that for a person to be qualified to contest election into the House of Representatives, he must belong to a political party and must be sponsored by that political party. In this instance, Okolie, the tribunal found was not duly sponsored by the Labour Party because there was no primaries.

“On the second ground, the tribunal also found in our favour that Okolie was in public office, he did not resign, he continued to collect salaries and emoluments in breach of the law.

“So, for these two reasons his election was nullified and in line with Section 135 of the Electoral Act, Hon. Elumelu who was the first runner up was declared winner of that election,” he added.

Reacting, Rt. Hon. Ndudi Elumelu commended the Judiciary for the courage in upholding justice and described the judgement as victory for democracy, Rule of law and the people of Aniocha/Oshimili Federal. He maintained that the judgment has further reaffirmed that the judiciary is the last hope for the common man who feels aggrieved and followed due judicial process of asking for redress.

Elumelu appreciated the people of Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency, the Governor of the State, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori and the wife.

He also appreciated the former Vice-president and Presidential candidate of the PDP in the last Presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, his supporters as well as the media for their roles in the quest for justice on the matter.

The immediate past Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, also commended Ngozi Lawrence Okolie for the way he comported himself throughout the period of the sitting of the tribunal and urged Okolie to join hands with him to move the Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency forward.

Chairman Nkem Okwuofu in her reaction also commended the Judgment of the tribunal and described it as an act of God. Others who reacted to the Judgment included, Chief Chris Agbabu, Chief Patrick Ukah, Hon. Chikazia, Chief Edwin Uzor, Chief Emma Chinye and Chief Dada Okonji.

They all congratulated Elumelu for the his victory at the Tribunal and called on the people of Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency to remain steadfast in rallying round Hon Elumelu as he continue with his effective representation in the House of Representatives.

News Reporter
Blank NEWS Online founding Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Albert Eruorhe Ograka, is a Graduate of Mass Communication. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ).

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