Tribunal passes verdict on Stella Oduah’s election

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Stella Oduah's election

The Anambra State election petition tribunal has delivered verdict on Stella Oduah’s election as the Senator representing Anambra State North Senatorial District.

Senator Oduah was declared winner of the February 23 election by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

But was challenged by the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) Chinedu Emeka.

Emeka based his challenged grounds that Oduah was not qualified to contest the election because she did not possess the required academic qualifications.

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According to him, Oduah was still a member of APGA by the time of the election. The former deputy governor also alleged that the election did not comply with the Electoral Act.

However, delivering the judgement, Esther Haruna said the petitioner failed to prove his allegations beyond reasonable doubt and therefore said Oduah was validly elected

The tribunal also affirmed the election of Valentine Ayika of the PDP, representing Anaocha, Njikoka and Dunukofia Federal Constituencies.

Ayika’s election was challenged by APGA candidate, Dozie Nwankwo.

Meanwhile, the election petition tribunal in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State Capital, has also dismissed a petition by a candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Abakaliki/Izzi Federal Constituency, Uchenna Nshi, against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Sylvester Ogbaga.

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Nshi approached the court to declare Ogbaga’s election invalid as he believed it was full of corrupt practices, voting intimidation, violence, non-compliance with the 2010 Electoral Act (as amended) and illegitimate modification of outcomes in favor of Ogbaga.

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He urged the court to set aside the results of polling units, wards and local governments as declared by the first respondent (INEC).

However, Justice Sika Aprioku, the Tribunal chairman held that the petition lacked merit as the petitioner failed to bring preponderance of evidence to prove his case.

The tribunal also held that the allegations of corrupt practices, non-compliance with Electoral Act 2010 as amended, and guidelines for the election was not substantiated by the petitioner, even as he did not prove to the court how they affected the outcome of the election.

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Justice Aprioku said the testimonies of the petitioner’s witnesses amounted to hearsay as they confirmed during cross examination that they were not present at the polling units where the infractions happened and accordingly, are unreliable and cannot be attached any probative value.

The tribunal awarded N150,000 cost each in favour of the first and second respondents while N20,000 cost was awarded in favour of the third respondent.

And Ogbaga has described the judgment as the reaffirmation of INEC’s verdict.

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