…Says petition lacks merit
Lawrence Nwimo, Awka
Anambra State National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Awka has dismissed a petition challenging the victory of Labour Party candidate, Hon. Victor Afam Ogene, in the 2023 general election for Ogbaru federal constituency of the state.
The petition was submitted by Hon Chukwuma Onyema of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who had served three tenures of office.
The judgment of the three-man panel headed by Justice S. Y. Abubakar unanimously affirmed that Hon. Ogene who is also the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Renewable Energy as the authentic winner of the election the result of which was eventually declared after a supplementary poll conducted by the Independent National Election Commission, (INEC) on April 15th 2023.
One of the three-man panel, Justice B. M. Kucheri, who read the judgment on behalf of others declared that the petition brought by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) Hon. Chukwuka Onyema lacked merit.
“This petition is lacking in merit and is accordingly dismissed. The election of Hon. Victor Afam Ogene is hereby affirmed by this tribunal,” Justice Kucheri declared.
Earlier, while reviewing the petition the tribunal judges had dismissed Onyema’s claim that elections were not held in seven polling units of the federal constituency, saying that he didn’t lead evidence to substantiate or prove his claims.
The tribunal further dismissed the petitioner’s claim that Hon. Ogene was not a bona fide member of Labour Party under which platform he won the election as at the time he was nominated as candidate of the party.
Hon. Ogene was declared winner of the Ogbaru federal constituency election by the Returning Officer Dr. Kingsley Uboji of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) Awka, after the April 15th 2023 Supplementary election, which was conducted following the declaration of the Federal constituency polls inconclusive by the INEC on February 25th 2023 general election.
Shortly after Justice Kucheri had delivered the judgment of the tribunal, two other members of the tribunal including the chairman, Justice S. Y. Abubakar and Justice I. O. Akinkugbe separately stated that they concurred with the judgment as delivered by Justice Kucheri.
Reacting, Hon. Ogene described his victory at the tribunal as “a validation of the will of the people, grace of God.”
He appreciated God for the victory and grace to represent his constituents at the House of Representatives. He also thanked Ogbaru people and his teeming supporters for their selfless support, encouragement and prayers.
Ogene who said the victory would further energise him to continue to provide quality representation for the people, extended hands of fellowship to the PDP candidate, and urged him to avoid the temptation of further judicial brickbats.
LP’s Ogene was declared as the winner of Ogbaru federal constituency after he score 10,851 votes of the total votes cast, followed by the candidate of the PDP who polled 10, 619 votes, while the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Hon. Arinze Awogu, came third with 10,155 votes.
The election in Ogbaru Federal Constituency was declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission, after the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections.
As a result, a rerun election was held at the constituency on April 15.