Tribunal sacks Labour Party Reps member in Lagos, orders election rerun

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  • Affirms election of APC candidate for Kastina-Ala, Ukum/Logo

BY TIMOTHY AGBOR

The National Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal sitting in Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos State, has invalidated the election victory of Thaddeus Atta from the Labour Party as the duly elected representative for Eti Osa Federal Constituency.

In a late-night judgment delivered on Monday, the tribunal ruled that the elections were inconclusive and directed the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct a supplementary election within 90 days in all polling units where voting did not take place.

Nigerian singer and actor, Bankole Wellington, popularly known as Banky W, of the People’s Democratic Party, who was declared the runner-up in the February 2023 election, and the All Progressives Congress candidate, Ibrahim Babajide Obanikoro, had both filed petitions challenging the election results.

The electoral umpire declared Atta the winner with 24,075 votes, while Banky W and Obanikoro polled 18,668 and 16,901 votes, respectively.

Reacting to this on his official Instagram handle (@repibrahimobanikoro) on Tuesday, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Ibrahim Obanikoro, confirmed this and hailed the judges “for this ruling which adheres to the components of the Constitution.”

“It was all smiles at the tribunal when it was confirmed that there would be a supplementary election in several polling units under the Eti-Osa Federal constituency where the election did not take place. I believe that our justice system is on the right track and I praise the judges for this ruling which adheres to the components of the Constitution. Work starts now.”

He shared on his Instagram story that, “The February 25 election has just been rightly declared inconclusive and supplementary elections have been ordered by the court. INEC has been ordered to withdraw the return certificate and conduct elections in areas where it didn’t hold on Election Day.”

In a post shared by Atta of the LP on his X handle (@_JtAtta) on Tuesday morning, he disclosed he was not sacked and there is “No cause for alarm.”

“I am here to clarify that I was not sacked. The Tribunal has simply ordered a re-run (supplementary election) in the 32 polling units where elections did not hold. We will continue working for Eti-Osa. I urge constituents to keep calm as we are unshaken. We will get through this together,” he added.

In a post similar to the reaction to the election, Banky W, on Monday night wrote “It is possible. Still,” on his X verified handle.

In the same vein, the National/State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal in Makurdi has upheld the election of Solomon Wombo of the APC for the Kastina-Ala/Ukum/Logo Federal Constituency election of Benue State.

Delivering the judgment on Monday, Justice Ory Zik Ikeorha, the chairman of the panel, said the petitioners, Richard Gbande and the PDP failed to prove their case.

Ikeorha said the 17 out of the 19 witnesses called by the petitioner filed their written addresses out of time and dismissed the same.

She said while some of the paragraphs of the petition were complaints on polling units, many others were generic and without basis.

“The reliefs sought are hereby refused, the petition stands dismissed in entirety, no order of cost,” she said.

INEC had declared Wombo as the winner of the February 25 election with 59,939 votes while Gbande came second with 39,414 votes.

Dissatisfied with the outcome Gbande and PDP dragged Wombo, APC and INEC before the tribunal challenging the declaration by INEC.

The petitioners stated that the respondent did not score the majority of the lawful votes cast at the February, Kastina-Ala/Ukum/Logo Federal Constituency election.

The petitioner also prayed the court to nullify the election in all the polling units with irregularities and declared him as the winner of the election or order for fresh poll.