The National and State Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abakiliki has removed Chief Lazarus Ogbee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for failing to poll the majority of the lawful votes cast during the Feb. 23 election in Ezza South/ Ikwo Federal Constituency.
It, however, declared the petitioner, Mr Chinedu Ogah, of the All Progressive Congress (APC) the rightful winner of the poll.
Ogah had approached the tribunal to contest Ogbee’s declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (INEC) as the winner of the election.
Delivering his judgment on Monday, the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Sika Aprioku, said that from available evidence presented before the tribunal, Ogah actually polled 36,238 votes to emerge the winner.
Aprioku said: “The total number of votes scored at Ezza South/ Ikwo constituency include: Ezza LGA – APC 8,311, PDP 17,139; while in Ikwo LGA, APC scored 27,927, PDP 16,127.
“This has brought the total number of valid votes for the APC to 36,238, while PDP garnered 33, 200 votes.
“The petitioner, therefore, scored the highest number of lawful votes.”
The tribunal ordered that the certificate of return issued to the first respondent by INEC be withdrawn and issued to the petitioner as the rightful winner of the election.
Reacting to the judgment, the petitioner thanked the tribunal for the verdict, saying that it reflected the true wishes of members of the constituency.
“I thank God for this verdict and assure the people of the constituency of effective representation in the House of Representatives,” Ogah said.
Conversely, Mr Roy Umahi, Counsel for Ogbee, expressed dismay over the verdict, saying that his client would challenge it at the appeal court.