Rep.s member, Hon. Aguocha lauds tribunal over verdict

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By Aaron Ossai

A member of the House of Representatives presenting, Ikwuano/Umuahia North and Umuahia South Federal Constituency of Abia state Hon. Obinna Aguocha (LP-Abia) has commended the verdict of the National Assembly election petition tribunal sitting in Umuahia, Abia state confirming his victory at the poll in the Feb. 25 elections.

Aguocha who made this known in a statement on Friday in Abuja extended hand of fellowship to his lead opponent, Chinedu Orji.

He said the judgment which was decided in his favour was commendable, adding; ’it is now time to fulfill all promises that were made to his people during the campaigns.

“I have always believed that our courts are the last hope of the common man, and this faith has been reinforced by the verdict”, he said.

He said time has come to begin the task of building the communities and working to ensure that the dividends of their struggle and aspirations were brought to bear.

He said it was also time to support Gov. Alex Otti in his quest to rebuild the state, while describing the journey leading to his victory as tortuous and difficult.

“But because of our unwavering and abiding confidence in the good people of the constituency, it has also been promising and one full of valuable lessons.”

According to him, this electoral process has never been about me. It has always been about our people and my belief in the things that matter most to them.

He urged all hands to be on deck in the quest to reposition the state, while commending the tribunal for a just and judicious dispensation of justice

“We are all partners in the Nigerian project and we will continue to use our best endeavours in building a strong and virile democracy.”

The National Election Petition Tribunal on Thursday dismissed the petition filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Orji, against Aguocha.

The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Aguocha the winner of the Feb. 25, reps election after polling a total number of 48,199 votes to defeat Orji, who polled 35,196 votes.

But not satisfied with the outcome of the election, Orji, who is the former speaker of the Abia House of Assembly and son of former governor Theodore Orji, approached the tribunal to seek redress.

He prayed the court to nullify Aguocha’s victory, claiming that he was not dully nominated as the LP candidate and therefore was not qualified to contest the election.

However, ruling in the matter, the tribunal led by Justice Abubakar Kutigi, held that the membership of a political was a pre-election matter, adding that the tribunal lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the matter, which should have been decided before the election.

He also ruled that the petitioner failed to prove that the respondent was not duly nominated by LP, as the issue concerning the candidate of a party in an election is an internal party affair.

The tribunal equally struck out the allegation of overvoting against the respondent by the petitioner, saying that he failed to prove it beyond every reasonable doubt.

The tribunal, however, dismissed the petition for lacking in merit, adding that it cannot fly.