The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has set aside the July 24, 2023, judgement by the National and State Houses of Assembly Election Tribunal in Asaba, which declared Ndudi Elumelu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the last election for Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency of Delta State.
In two judgments on Thursday, the appellate court declared Ngozi Okolie of the Labour Party (LP) the winner of the election.
The appellate court faulted the tribunal for voiding Okolie’s election and went ahead to dismiss Elumelu’s petition filed before the trial tribunal, on which the voided judgment was given.
The Court of Appeal agreed with counsel to the Labour Party, Mahmud Magaji (SAN), that contrary to the finding of the tribunal, Okolie was duly nominated and sponsored by his party and that he resigned his appointment as a Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Delta State Government as required by the Constitution.
The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal in Delta State had, in July this year, sacked Ngozi Okolie, a member of the House of Representatives.
The lawmaker, who represents the Aniocha/Oshimili federal constituency on the platform of the Labour Party (LP), was sacked by the panel sitting in Asaba, the state capital.
Okolie created an upset against the former Minority Leader of the House, Ndudi Elumelu, during the February 25 National Assembly elections.
He scored 53,879 votes against 33,466 secured by Mr. Elumelu of the PDP.
However, Mr Elumelu, in a petition filed before the panel with case number EPT/DL/HR/06/2023, argued that Mr Okolie’s nomination was not in tune with the relevant laws on the election.
He said the LP did not duly sponsor Mr Okolie because, at the time of the primary election that produced him as the candidate, he (Okolie) was not a member of the party.
The three-member panel, headed by A.Z. Mussa, in its ruling, agreed with Mr. Elumelu and disqualified Okolie.
The tribunal also ruled that Mr Elumelu should be returned as the elected representative for the constituency.