Appeal Court Sacks 2 LP Reps Members: Nwodo, Okereke; Affirms Oke, Anayo (PDP)

The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos has sacked the member representing Igbo-Etiti/Uzo-Uwani Federal Constituency, Stainless Chijioke Nwodo. In turn, the Appeal Court affirmed the appellant, Dr. Martins George Oke (PDP) as winner and duly elected Reps member for the said Federal Constituency.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on February 26, declared Labour Party’s Nwodo as winner with 14089 votes against incumbent, Oke (PDP) and Samuel Chijioke Ekwueme (APC) who scored 12633 and 10016 votes respectively.

Dissatisfied with the results, Ekwueme & APC and Oke & PDP approached the National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Enugu, seeking the disqualification of the Candidate and/or nullification of the election for different reasons.

Whilst Ekwueme hinged on irregularities in the election and the membership of Nwodo in the Labour Party, the PDP Candidate’s Petition was hinged on Nwodo’s qualifications and inconsistencies in his name.

The tribunal led by Justice Nusirat Umar on 8th September, dismissed both petitions as lacking in merit.

Justice Umar ruled that Oke failed to prove the case of forgery against the respondents, pointing out that there was a contradiction in the letter from Enugu State Examination Development Centre (EDC).

The judge ruled that no witness came from EDC to testify against the certificate and said that the issue of inconsistencies in the name couldn’t be proved by the petitioners.

The panel, thereafter, dismissed the petition for lack of merit.

On the petition by the APC, which is hinged on the membership of the winner to the Labour Party and irregularities during the election, the panel ruled that the petitioner could not prove any of his allegations and dismissed same as being incompetent and lacking in merit.

Obviously not happy, Oke of the PDP who was in the House of Reps between 2003-2007 & 2019-2023 appealed the judgement of the tribunal.

The Appeal Court delivering the judgement via Zoom, set aside the decision of the tribunal and ordered INEC to immediately withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Nwodo and issue same to the appellant, Oke.

The panel held that the LP Candidate was not qualified to stand for the election. The Court said they will give reasons for their judgement at a later date.