The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunals sitting in several states will end their proceedings this week as they prepare to deliver judgments on no fewer than 400 election petitions. Though a senior Independent National Electoral Commission official said 552 election petitions were filed by the aggrieved candidates who participated in the National Assembly elections, It was gathered on Sunday that over 150 of the cases had been decided. It was learnt that some of the cases were withdrawn by the petitioners.
“However, about 400 cases are expected to be decided this week as tribunals across the country end their sittings on Saturday 16, 2023. Some of the leading federal lawmakers whose fate will be decided this week are seven House of Representatives members from Delta State.”
In the past weeks, the panels had overturned the victories of no fewer than four senators and seven members of the House of Representatives in the polls held on February 25, 2023.Among the recently ousted Senators were Emmanuel Udende (APC, Benue North East), Isah Jibrin (APC, Kogi East), Abubakar Ohere (APC, Kogi Central), and Thomas Joel-Onowakpo (Delta South).In Delta, Senator Joel-Onowakpo faced a re-run election in the Delta South Senatorial District on the orders of the tribunal.
The tribunal, led by Justice Catherine Ogunsola, declared the initial election inconclusive and mandated the INEC to conduct a supplementary election in the Warri South council area within 90 days.
Joel-Onowakpo expressed his disappointment with the tribunal’s ruling, but had yet to decide on whether to appeal, leaving the decision to the voters.
In Benue, the tribunal in Makurdi nullified the election of Emmanuel Udende, the Senator representing the Benue North East Senatorial District and declared Gabriel Suswam of the Peoples Democratic Party as the rightful winner based on evidence of over-voting during the election.
Similarly, Senator Jibrin Isah of Kogi East was ousted by a tribunal judgment, which ordered a supplementary election in 94 polling units due to discrepancies in voter card distribution.
In Kogi Central, Abubakar Ohere was unseated by the court which affirmed Natasha Akpoti-Uduagan of the opposition PDP as the winner of the senatorial polls.
Meanwhile, in the House of Representatives, Fred Agbedi, the PDP candidate for Sagbama/Ekeremor federal constituency, was also removed by the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal in Bayelsa State.
A fresh election was ordered in specific polling units to rectify the exclusion of 26,000 registered voters.