Tribunal Upholds Erondu Jnr Election, Dismisses Onwubiko’s Petition

The National and State Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Umuahia Abia State, has dismissed the petition brought before it by the candidate of the Labour Party (LP) Mrs. Victoria Onwubiko, against the member representing Obingwa-West State Constituency, Hon. Erondu Uchenna Erondu Jnr, noting that it lacked merit.

In a unanimous judgment delivered today, Thursday, September 28, 2023 by Hon. Justice Abubakar Kutigi-led three-man panel, the tribunal held that the petitioner; Mrs. Victoria Dibunma Onwubiko failed to prove that the election was marred with substantial ‘Non Compliance’ with Electoral Acts in Obingwa-West State Constituency of March 18, 2023 elections as she alleged.

The tribunal also held that the Petitioner, Mrs. Onwubiko who contested the election results in 82 Polling Units (PUs), brought only Eight witnesses and presented evidence for only Three Polling Units.

The tribunal Chairman further described the evidence as abysmal with no credible emperical data, adding that none of the witnesses the petitioner brought could defend the documents brought before the tribunal.

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Hon. Justice Kutigi who recalled that the Petitioner who testified in Court that all evidences she tendered before the tribunal, came from her agents, maintaining that ‘hear-say’ evidence is not admissible in court of law.

The Tribunal further disclosed in his ruling that some of the Witnesses (PW5, PW6, PW7 and PW8) who earlier alleged in their disposition that were over-voting, inflation of votes, mutilations, alterations among others, reversed themselves during cross-examination and affirmed that election was credible.

The tribunal decried the alternative claim of disenfranchisement sought by the Petitioner, adding that the petitioner failed to provide disenfranchised voters to testify in court.

On the margin of lead principle, the tribunal held that no witness of the petitioner testified to the effect that any voter was disenfranchised.

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In his words: “The Petitioner through the Bar, dump the documents on the court and did nothing to prove their claims.
“Court has no business to determine issues based on speculations but based on evidence tendered and demonstrated in the open court”.

The Tribunal held that the petitioner failed to establish the burden of proof of ‘substantial non Compliance’ with the Electoral Acts and therefore, dismissed the petition for lacking in merit.

In his reactions, the Counsel to People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Sir Emeka Eze, who thanked the tribunal for ensuring that justice prevailed on the matter, said it was victory for the rule of law.

Meanwhile, the Chairman, House Committee on Public Service and the member representing Obingwa-West State constituency in ABHA, Hon. Erondu Uchenna Erondu Jnr, hailed the tribunal for the judgment, noting that it was victory for democracy and the people of Obingwa-West State constituency, whose mandate he regards as sacred.

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He thanked the tribunal for being fair, firm and resolute in judgment as well as upholding the provisions of the law.

Hon. Erondu Jnr also thanked his constituents for their prayers and supports, adding that he would reciprocate the confidence reposed in him through quality representation.