BY Ahmad Sahabi
The election petition tribunal in Asaba, the Delta capital, has removed Ngozi Okolie of the Labour Party (LP), as the lawmaker representing Aniocha/Oshimili constituency at the house of representatives.
The tribunal, on Monday, in its judgement held that Okolie was not a member of the LP as of May 28, 2022, when the primary election of the party was purportedly held.
The panel declared Ndudi Elumelu, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who was the first runner-up in the February 25 national assembly poll as the winner.
Elumelu had served as the minority leader in the ninth assembly.
Reacting to the judgement, Okolie asked his supporters to remain calm, noting that “our democracy and judiciary” are on trial.
“My lawyers have briefed me about the Judgement of the Tribunal earlier today. I plead with all my supporters and sympathizers to remain calm and keep hope alive. Ngozi Okolie is not the person on trial, but our democracy and judiciary,” he posted on his Facebook page.
“Thank God there is an opening for appeal and afterwards God is the final Judge. I have briefed my Lawyers to do the needful. Nobody will take the mandate of the Aniocha/Oshimili people from the back door. We shall overcome.”
Meanwhile, Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the LP in the 2023 elections, is also facing a similar case at the tribunal.
On March 1, Bola Tinubu, the standard bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was declared the winner of the presidential election.
Tinubu secured 8,794,726 votes, to beat Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who had 6,984,520 votes, and Peter Obi of the LP, that polled 6,101,533 votes.
However, the PDP and LP rejected the results of the election. Both parties approached the tribunal with separate petitions to challenge Tinubu’s victory.
Countering Obi’s petition, APC had said the LP presidential candidate was not a valid member of the party as of the time of the election.
The ruling party added that the former Anambra governor was a member of the PDP until May 24, 2022, and was screened as one of the party’s presidential hopefuls in April 2022.