A three-man panel of the National Assembly and House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, Friday, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a rerun election in Arochukwu State constituency seat within ninety days.
Recall that the petitioner, Prince Eric Aso Kalu, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the last election, had filed a suit at the Tribunal, seeking to nullify the election which returned Mike Ukoha, the flag bearer of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), claimed that the election was marred by irregularities and over voting.
While delivering the judgment, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice A.A Aderibigbe, declared that the March 9 House of Assembly election won by the respondent (Mike Ukoha) for Arochukwu constituency was characterized by over voting, with instances in Ujari 2, Amasu 1 and 3, as well as Agbagwu, all in Arochukwu state constituency.
The Judge mentioned the units where rerun should take place to include Ujari 3, Amasu 1, 2 and 3, Agbagwu, Government Area/Mary Slessor as well as Ibom/Aggrey Primary School.
Others include Ndi Arunsi Ogbaja Unit, Obiene 1/Obiene Central School, Obiagwulu 3 and Abuma 2/Abuma Hall all in Ututu, Arochukwu local government area of Abia State.
Meanwhile, the PDP candidate for Arochukwu state constituency seat during the 2019 House of Assembly election in Abia State, Prince Eric Aso Kalu, has commended the tribunal members for toeing the path of justice.
Kalu made the commendation while reacting to the court ruling ordering for rerun election in some wards in Ututu and Abam, Arochukwu LGA.
He asserted that the verdict of the tribunal had buttressed his claim that Ukoha’s declaration as winner of the poll by the nation’s electoral body(INEC) was illegal and fraudulent.
He said, “First and foremost, I must commend the tribunal members for toeing path of justice and fair play by identifying the excessive malpractices that occurred during the exercise.
“I am very optimistic to win the rerun election in some of the INEC wards in Arochukwu constituency as ordered by the tribunal, if the respondents in the suit will jettison idea of appealing the court ruling.
“I’m urging members of the PDP, supporters and Arochukwu constituents to remain steadfast, because, our total victory is on the way”.