By Ikeugonna Eleke and Abuchi Onwumelu
The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Awka, Anambra State capital, has upheld the election of Hon. Ifeanyi Ibezi of Idemili North/South Federal Constituency.
Hon. Ibezi who was elected on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), had his victory challenged by Hon. Obinna Chidoka of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Chidoka had sought for the nullification of the election on the ground of multiple voting and none compliance to electoral laws during the National Assembly election of 2019 in the area.
Chidoka also contested that Independent Electoral Commision (INEC) ought not to have conducted the supplementary election, having conducted election in the areas and he won.
In the judgment read by two judges in a panel consisting of three justices; Justice R. Irele Ifijeh and His Worship O.O. Odubanjo, the tribunal held that the petitioner was unable to establish that results he presented before the tribunal were generated during the election.
The tribunal also held that the petitioner could not identify the source of the results.
The tribunal also held that INEC had the power to conduct supplementary election, where the election was inconclusive.
It held that since the petitioner could not establish where he got the results presented before it, it was not the duty of the tribunal to go into a voyage of discovery to find out the source of the results.
The tribunal said that the petitioner having failed woefully to establish his case beyond reasonable doubt for it to nullify the election, it had no option than to dismiss the petition.
Reacting, Hon. Ibezi said that the excitement from the people of Idemili North and South showed how happy they were that he had retained the mandate freely given to him by the people of the federal constituency.
He said that the court, having spoken, what was left for him was to go back to work from where he stopped.
He said, ‘My opponent has done his bit and I ask him to maintain the peace and understand the feeling of Idemili people and abide by that.’