By Oginyi Ruth

The Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital, on Monday declared the candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) for Ezza South/Ikwo Federal Constituency, Comrade Chinedu Ogah as the winner of the February 23rd  National Assembly elections in Ebonyi State.

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared the candidate of the Peoples

Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Lazarus Ogbee as the winner of the election.

The electoral Umpire declared that Ogbee polled 31,296 votes while Ogah got 27,700 votes after cancelling some polling units where Comrade Ogah won.

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But the APC candidate proceeded to the tribunal asking the panel to declare him the winner on the ground that there were deductions in the votes cast for his party by the electorate in some of the polling units and wards in the election.

Ogah had told the court that to be declared winner haven scored the lawful votes cast in the election.

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Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Sika Henry, in his judgement declared the APC candidate as the winner, saying that Ogah polled 36,238 as against the 27,700 votes earlier recorded for him by INEC.

Justice Sika ruled that from the evidences presented before the tribunal Ogah scored the highest lawful votes while the PDP candidate, Ogbee got 33,263 votes to come second in the election.

The tribunal, while restoring the said cancelled votes in the election, declared that Ogah scored the lawful votes and was validly elected.

Reacting to the judgement, counsel to the PDP candidate (2nd respondent), Barr Roy Umahi, rejected the decision of the tribunal.

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Visibly angry Umahi accused the panel members of bias and vowing that his client will appeal the judgment.

However, counsel to the APC candidate, Mr Mbia Okweni Tofa (SAN) thanked the tribunal for restoring the mandate of the people having observed that the results of his client were cancelled by INEC.

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He said it was on the ground that the tribunal joined the cancelled results which his client got the highest vote and declared him winner.

In his reaction to the judgement, the APC candidate, Mr Ogah said, “The tribunal saw that APC won the election, they have restored the faith of the masses. Ezza South/Ikwo mandate has been restored and it is a challenge to me to deliver.”


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