The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia, Abia State, has nullified the election of Hon Amobi Ogah of the Labour Party (LP) and declared the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Hon Nkiruka Onyejiocha, as the winner of the Isuikwuato/Umunneochi federal constituency polls.
The tribunal ruled that the emergence and victory of Ogah did not comply with the Electoral Act.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared the Labour Party candidate, Amobi Ogah as the winner of the Isuikwuato/Umunneochi federal constituency election with a total of 11,769 votes against Onyejiocha who the commission said scored a total of 8,752 votes.
Dissatisfied with the result, Onyejeocha filed a petition before the National Assembly election petition tribunal, seeking the nullification of Ogah’s election.
Seven reliefs were contained in her petition.
Delivering judgement in the petition tagged EPT/AB/HR/8/2023 on Wednesday in Umuahia, the three-man panel said the Ogah’s emergence as LP candidate did not comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
According to the ruling, “How a candidate is sponsored by a political party is both pre and post-election matter; there is no evidence of giving 21 days notice to INEC by the respondents before conducting their primary election.
“No date of primaries was placed before us, no evidence of primaries and the 3rd respondent has always said it’s an internal affairs of the Party.
“We have tabulated and found out that the results computed by the petitioner is correct and the results computed by the 1st respondent is dis-countenanced,” it held.
Ogah had also argued that the acceptance of the ministerial appointment by Onyejeocha was a sign that she had abandoned her petition.
However the tribunal in its ruling dismissed the submission of the lawmaker.
“We are of the view that section 66 is not applicable to this scenario because the petitioner is not a lawmaker of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the scenario prohibited by law is a person being a member of two arms of government,” the court ruled.
The tribunal agreed with the petitioner that there were over voting in some electoral units in favour of Amobi Ogah and his LP, while her actual votes were not declared by INEC.
After subtracting the alleged inflated figures, the tribunal said Onyejiocha scored 11,976 votes, while Amobi Ogah scored 9,736 votes.
Amobi Ogah is the younger brother of Uche Ogah, a former minister of of state for mines and steel development.