The National Assembly election petition tribunal in Umuahia, Abia State, has nullified the election of Hon Amobi Ogah of the Labour Party (LP) and declared Nkiruka Onyejiocha, the present Minister of State for Labour and Employment, as the winner of the Isiukwuato/Umunneochi federal constituency polls.
The tribunal’s decision was based on the finding that Ogah’s emergence and victory did not comply with the Electoral Act. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had initially declared Amobi Ogah as the winner of the election with 11,769 votes, compared to Onyejiocha’s 8,752 votes.
However, dissatisfied with the result, Onyejeocha filed a petition before the National Assembly election petition tribunal, seeking the nullification of Ogah’s election, presenting seven reliefs in her petition.
Delivering the judgment on Wednesday, the three-man panel ruled that Ogah’s emergence as the LP candidate did not comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act. They pointed out the absence of evidence of giving 21 days’ notice to INEC before conducting the primary election and the lack of documented primary election dates and results.
The tribunal also dismissed Ogah’s argument that Onyejeocha’s acceptance of a ministerial appointment was a sign that she had abandoned her petition, stating that Section 66 was not applicable in this scenario.
In its final ruling, the tribunal concurred with the petitioner’s claim of overvoting in some electoral units in favor of Amobi Ogah and the LP, while Onyejiocha’s actual votes were not declared by INEC. After adjusting for the alleged inflated figures, the tribunal declared Nkiruka Onyejiocha as the winner with 11,976 votes, while Amobi Ogah scored 9,736 votes.
It’s worth noting that Amobi Ogah is the younger brother of Uche Ogah, a former Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development. This tribunal decision marks a significant development in the Isiukwuato/Umunneochi federal constituency election and raises questions about compliance with electoral regulations.