The Court of Appeal in Abuja, on the yesterday, invalidated the victory of Ndudi Elumelu from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Delta State Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency election. The court reversed the decision made by the National and State Houses of Assembly Election Tribunal in Asaba, and instead declared Ngozi Okolie from the Labour Party (LP) as the rightful winner of the election held on February 25, 2023.
In two separate judgments, the appellate court criticized the tribunal for nullifying Okolie’s election and for dismissing Elumelu’s petition prior to the tribunal’s ruling, leading to the erroneous judgment. The court concurred with the LP’s attorney, Mahmud Magaji, that, contrary to the tribunal’s findings, Okolie had been properly nominated and endorsed by his party.
Furthermore, the court affirmed that Okolie had duly resigned from his position as a Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Delta State government in accordance with the Constitution.
It’s worth recalling that on February 25, Okolie secured a total of 53,879 votes, defeating the incumbent Minority Leader, Elumelu, who received 33,456 votes, while Tony Nwaake garnered 11,712 votes.
In a different development, Daniel Ero, the LP’s candidate for the chairmanship position in Oredo Local Council, Edo State, has called upon the state’s Chief Judge to establish a local government tribunal in compliance with Section 78 of the state LG election law 2012. Ero emphasized that this provision is not merely a legal formality but a crucial foundation of the democratic system, vital for ensuring fairness, justice, and the rule of law.
In a letter addressed to the Chief Judge of the state, Ero noted that establishing the tribunal before the election could have swiftly addressed and resolved disputes arising from the electoral processes. He lamented that the recent local elections in the state were tainted by voter suppression, violence, and serious irregularities. The letter was also copied to the Chief Justice of Nigeria/Chairman National Judicial Council and the Supreme Court of Nigeria.