In a significant turn of events, the House of Representatives Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Asaba has declared Hon. Solomon Ahwinahwi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the rightful winner of the February 25, 2023, election for the Ughelli North/Ughelli South/Udu Federal Constituency.
The ruling, delivered in straightforward terms, declared that the failure to publish the educational qualifications of the candidate on the INEC portal was sufficient grounds to disqualify the candidate and declare the opponent as the winner of the election.
This decision comes in the wake of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) previously declaring Rev. Francis Ejiroghene Waive, a member of the Delta All Progressives Congress (APC), as the victor on March 1st, 2023, in the same election.
The Returning Officer for the Constituency, Prof. Mary Edema, had initially announced the results at the INEC collation office in Ughelli, Delta State, naming Waive of the APC as the winner with a total of 42,226 votes from the three councils in the constituency.
However, the tribunal’s ruling has now overturned the earlier declaration, leading to the removal of Waive as the elected representative.
Details regarding the tribunal’s decision are expected to be made available in due course as the situation unfolds.
This development underscores the intricacies and legal processes involved in Nigeria’s electoral system, as political contestants and parties seek recourse through the appropriate channels to resolve election-related disputes and ensure that the true voice of the electorate is heard.