The National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal in Abia State on Monday sacked former governor of the state, Orji Uzor Kalu as Senator.
Kalu is the Senate’s Chief Whip and represents Abia North Senatorial District at the National Assembly.
In view of this development, the Election tribunal has ordered a re-run election in the Arochukwu LGA, where results were excluded in the computation.
The former governor was elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The three-man tribunal led by Justice Cornelius Akintayo ordered the supplementary election while giving judgment in a petition brought before it by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the election, Mao Ohuabunwa, who had challenged the victory of the Senate Chief Whip, Orji Kalu, in the Senatorial election.
Kalu was declared winner of the election by the returning officer, Dr. Charles Anumudu, which Ohuabunwa described as “excess electoral fraud and broad daylight robbery.”
He, therefore, approached the tribunal to seek justice.
The petitioner told the tribunal that Kalu’s declaration as the winner of the poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not comply with the provisions of the 2010 Electoral Act as amended.
He alleged that INEC excluded some votes during the collation of results, adding that the commission also disenfranchised many registered voters in the constituency.
The tribunal said that since all the parties agreed that elections were peaceful in the entire senatorial district, INEC failed in its duty to ensure that all the unit results were duly recorded in the relevant ward and local government result sheets.
It frowned at the exclusion of over 30,000 votes from Arochukwu Local Government Area, without giving good reason for its action.
The tribunal held that the excluded figure was much higher than the over 10,000 votes, which was the margin of lead between Kalu and the petitioner.
The panel therefore nullified the election and ordered a supplementary election in the affected areas within 90 days.
In a reaction, counsel for Ohuabunwa, Mr Mike Onyeka, hailed the judgment, saying it had increased his confidence in the judiciary.
“I feel a little more confident in the judiciary because what has been decided is the justice of the matter,” he said.