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Tribunal nullifies Bayelsa Rep election, orders rerun
 
By: Abara Blessing Oluchi
Fri, 8 Sep 2023   ||   Nigeria,
 

The National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal in Bayelsa State has set aside the election of the member representing Sagbama-Ekeremor Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, Fred Agbedi.

The tribunal stated this in a judgment delivered on Thursday, in Yenagoa by Justice Sylvester Odili on the petition marked EPT/BY/HR/01/2023 which was filed by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Michael Olomu.

The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Agbedi, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, winner of the election, having polled a total of 21, 430 votes, while Olomu had a total of 8,899 votes in the February 25 House of Representatives polls.

The panel also set aside the certificate of return issued to the PDP candidate.

The tribunal also directed INEC to conduct a supplementary election within 90 days in some polling units and wards in the Sagbama and Ekeremor LGAs, where the exercise was marred by violence and other irregularities.

The panel held that substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2022 by INEC, affected the outcome of the polls in the identified polling units and wards.

The tribunal, in its verdict, listed 17 polling units in Wards 10, 11 and 12 of Ekeremor LGA; six polling units of Ward 11, and all the polling units in Ward 5 of Sagbama LGA as the affected areas that the commission should conduct a re-run within 90 days.

According to the panel, the total number of registered voters in the affected polling units and wards in both LGAs is 26, 471 and they were deemed to have been disenfranchised as a result of violence and other irregularities.

Speaking in an interview with journalists after the delivery of judgement, Agbedi said he was prepared for the supplementary polls.

He said, “That is justice served and I’m ready for the supplementary election. No appeal, that’s my personal decision.”

On his part, Olomu said he would consult his party and lawyers on the next step to take on the outcome of his petition.

He said, “This is a clear indication that in the 25th of February election, I clearly won, as stated by the tribunal. 26,000 plus votes were not given to me. And the court has said that we should go for a re-run. I will consult the party and my lawyers and a decision will be taken immediately.”

 

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