Tribunal affirms election of Senate Minority Leader

The National and State Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia on Wednesday upheld the election of  the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, of the Peoples Democratic Party.

The tribunal dismissed the petition filed by the senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance in Abia South Senatorial District, Chris Nkwonta, against the victory of  Abaribe in the last general elections in the state.

In a unanimous judgment, which was read by a member of the panel, Justice Wasiu Animashaun, the tribunal said  some of the grounds the petitioner relied upon were conflicting.

The petitioner had alleged that going by the total number of accredited voters by the card readers, the results announced by INEC was higher than what was recorded in the card readers.

The tribunal, however, faulted the decision of the petitioner to rely on card reader accreditation, holding that the card readers could not override the provision of the voters register in any election.

On the issue of invalid accreditation and over-voting, the tribunal said the petitioner failled to present the scores he got and the one presented by INEC to the tribunal.

The tribunal held that there was a total of 1, 091 polling units within the Senatorial District, and  maintained that Abaribe would still have won if the figure claimed by the petitioner as “over voting” was removed from the winner’s score.

The tribunal said Abaribe would have still maintained a reasonable margin of lead over the petitioner with 5,788 votes.
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