April 19, 2024

Apprehension In 25 States As 327 Petitions Hit Election Tribunals Against INEC

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By Simeon OSAJIE

About 327 petitions has arrived the Election Tribunals against the electoral umpire – the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) over the declaration as losers, in the February 25 and March 18 elections.

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Among the losers are at least three governors: Ben Ayade (Cross River State), Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi) and Simon Lalong (Plateau) who contested the senatorial election.

It was gathered that the petitions came in as of Wednesday, and more were likely to come before the expiration of the deadline for the submission of petitions.

Petitions filed in Abia State (35) top the list, followed by Anambra (31), Lagos (30), Delta (25), Kano (23), Benue (17) and Plateau (16) while the least (three) are from Yobe.

There had been no petitions filed in Oyo and Ogun as of the time of this report.

Election losers under the Electoral Act 2022 have 21 days from the date of declaration of results to challenge the outcome.

The situation in affected states is causing anxiety as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been accused of tardiness in the conduct of the 2023 general elections, and the implication is that, should the lapses be proven at the different Election Petition Tribunals across the country, many of the election results may be overturned.

The presidential election result is already being challenged at the Appeal Court, which is the tribunal for the poll, by the candidates of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Mr. Peter Obi respectively.

INEC had declared Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner.

The trial of the National Assembly and State Assembly Elections’ petitions begins at the tribunal and ends at the Appeal Court while the governorship begins at the tribunal but stretches up to the Supreme Court.

In Delta State, 25 candidates, who participated in the polls, including governorship candidates of the APC, Social Democratic Party (SDP) and LP, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Chief Kenneth Gbagi and Ken Pela respectively, petitioned the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in the state, querying the conduct and outcome of the election.

The tribunal has already granted leave to Gbagi and Pela leave to inspect the electoral materials that INEC used in the conduct of the election.

The Young Progressive Party, YPP, governorship candidate, Europe-based Comrade Sunny Ofehe, however, chose not to approach the tribunal, insisting that he would deploy international instruments to challenge the “hoax”.

Omo-Agege, in his petition, said INEC breached the Electoral Act 2022 in the collation of the results of the governorship poll across Delta.

He expressed dissatisfaction with the correctness of the results that INEC declared in Aniocha North, Aniocha South, Ika North East, Ika South, Oshimili North, Oshimili South, Ukwuani, Ndokwa East and Ndokwa West local government areas in Delta North.

In Delta South, Omo-Agege frowned at the results from Bomadi (only Wards 07, 08, and 09, that is, Akugbene1, Akugbene 2, and Akugbene 3), Burutu, Patani, Warri North, Warri South West, Warri South, and Isoko North local government areas.

Sources: vanguard

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