By Ewa Innocent, The Sight News
Abakaliki: National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abakaliki, Ebonyi state capital, has sacked Hon. Lazarus Ogbee of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), representing Ezza South/Ikwo federal constituency and declared Comrade Chinedu Ogah,candidate of the All Progressives Congress(APC),the winner of the February 23 National Assembly elections.
Hon. Lazarus Ogbee,had earlier been declared the winner of the February 23 election by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC),with the initial total of 31,296 as against 27,700 votes scored by Comrade Chinedu Ogah.
But, Ogah who was not satisfied by the result, proceeded to the election tribunal alleging that there were deductions in his votes scored in some of the polling units and wards during the election, hence,prayed the court to declare him the winner having scored the lawful votes cast.
Delivering judgement, the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Sika Henry Aprioku ruled that from evidence presented before the tribunal, Ogah scored 36,238 votes while the first respondent (Ogbee) got 33,263
“It is the petitioner that scored the majority of lawful votes having scored 36, 238 votes as against the PDP candidate,the first respondent who scored 33,263 votes.
“We entirely agree with the petitioner that he scored the majority of lawful votes from our own computation.
“The certificate of return issued to the 1st respondent by the 3rd respondent(INEC) as representing Ezza south/Ikwo federal constituency is hereby withdrawn forthwith and must be issued to the petitioner, Comrade Chinedu Ogah as the winner of the election conducted on the 23rd of February, 2019 to the membership of the House of representatives to represent Ezza South/Ikwo federal constituency,” the tribunal ruled.
In an interview with journalists, shortly after the ruling,counsel to Hon.Laz Ogbee,Mr Roy O.U Nweze,said,”I want to say that I am not altogether disappointed with the judgement because I expected that it will be this way. We will start drafting the notice of our appeal today”.
Also in an interview,counsel to the petitioner,Tofa Mba Ukweni, SAN,said,“What they collated did not reflect the outcome of the election at the polling units. We then asked the tribunal which has power to do by the electoral act to recompute the result of the election based on the outcome of the election at the polling units.
Comrade Chinedu Ogah, the petitioner and the APC candidate,while expressing satisfaction with the tribunal ruling,said,“I feel happy over the judgment. It showed that the mandate of the masses has been restored. This has shown what the tribunal can do. They really looked on the eyes of the masses. They have seen that the masses voted for APC.”