The National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal in Enugu has delivered a significant ruling, nullifying the election of Okey Mbah of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the March 18 House of Assembly poll for Nkanu East state constituency.
This decision comes following a petition filed by the Labour Party candidate, Okwudiri Nnaji, challenging the outcome of the election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had initially declared Okey Mbah as the victor of the election. However, the tribunal’s judgment, delivered on Friday, September 29, cited non-compliance with the provisions of the 2022 electoral act as grounds for nullifying the election.
A three-man panel, led by Honourable Justice Adie Attoe Onyebueke, carefully considered the evidence presented in the petition and found merit in the Labour Party candidate’s claims. In its ruling, the tribunal ordered a rerun election in specific polling units located in Ugbawka and Owo wards.
The tribunal pointed out a critical discrepancy in the number of votes returned from these two wards. The total votes recorded exceeded the number of registered and accredited voters in those areas, raising concerns about the validity of the election results as declared by INEC.
To rectify this irregularity, the tribunal has mandated the electoral umpire, INEC, to conduct a rerun election in the affected polling units within the next 90 days. This decision aims to uphold the integrity of the electoral process and ensure that the voice of the people in Nkanu East state constituency is accurately reflected.
The ruling serves as a reminder of the importance of transparency and adherence to electoral laws in Nigeria’s democratic system. As preparations for the rerun election get underway, all eyes will be on Nkanu East state constituency, where voters will have another opportunity to exercise their democratic right and choose their representative in the House of Assembly.