- By Kenneth Udeh
The National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia has upheld the victory of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu representing Abia North Senatorial zone in the February 25 polls.
A three man panel led by Justice Samson Paul -Gang in its unanimous ruling on Tuesday dismissed the petition of People’s Democratic Party’s Mao Ohuabunwa and Labour Party’s Nnamdi Iro Orji for lacking merit.
The court while upholding the victory of Kalu of the All Progressives Congress, APC said that the election of the former Senate Chief Whip compiled with the provisions of the Electoral Act. The tribunal judges also faulted the arguments of both petitioners that election did not hold in over 120 polling units mainly in Ohafia and Arochukwu Local Government Areas of the zone.
Nnamdi Iro and Ohuabunwa who came second and third respectively,Labour Party, who came second and third respectively, in separate suits had asked the court to overturn the election of the former Abia Governor as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, alleging irregularities.
Also kicked out in the petition of the PDP and Labour Party was the argument that the total number of registered voters in the allegedly affected polling units was far above the margin of win between Kalu and the first and second runners-up.
The court in its constitutional interpretation also validated Kalu’s eligibility to contest the election stating that his trial and conviction was quashed by the supreme court. Two other matters filed by the Labour Party challenging Kalu’s election were also interpreted and laid to rest by the Tribunal judges and thus declared Kalu the duly elected Senator of Abia North.
Kalu, a Chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC) was declared winner by the INEC returning Officer for Abia North, Mr Chinedu Nnamdi at Ohafia.
Kalu a two time Lawmaker who currently presides as the Chairman Senate committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation was declared winner by INEC of the keenly contested February 25 Senatorial polls having scored 30,805 votes to defeat Nnamdi who got 27,540 votes.
While Kalu’s other opponent Mao Ohuabunwa of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scored 15,175 votes to place third.