The National Assembly and State Election Petition Tribunal, convened in Asaba on Saturday, delivered a verdict dismissing the case filed by Ekpoto Ekpoto Emmanuel of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
The petitioner had challenged the election of the Warri Federal Constituency House of Representatives member, Rt. Hon. Thomas Ereyitomi, who ran on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 28, 2023 General Election.
Leading the three-member tribunal panel, Justice Catherine Ogunsola announced the judgement, stating that the petitioner’s case lacked merit.
Furthermore, she emphasized that the petitioner had failed to substantiate their claims beyond reasonable doubt. Notably, the evidence presented by the petitioner was deemed inadmissible under the law.
The tribunal judges emphasized that the petitioner failed to provide evidence at the unit and ward levels to establish any electoral malpractice.
They further pointed out that the petitioner’s pleadings did not effectively demonstrate the alleged irregularities in the election.
According to the Tribunal Judges “The Petitioners failed to call evidence unit by unit and ward by ward to establish malpractice in the election.
“The Petitioner in his pleadings did not demonstrate the discrepancy between the number of accredited voters, the lawful votes cast and how it affected the outcome of the election. Attempt to do this in his Written Address was of no moment.
“The alleged forgery of the 3rd Respondent’s NECO was not established as there is was disclaimer from the issuing authority. Besides, no mean could be inferred.”
Each and every relief in the petition as well as the petition itself were dismissed with cost of five hundred thousand naira (N500,000) against the petitioner in favour of the 2nd and 3rd Respondents.
Speaking to journalists, Counsel to the lawmaker, Robinson Arhiyo said: “It is victory for democracy and for the electorate, who voted massively for Rt. Hon. Thomas Ereyintomi during the election.”
INEC, on March 2, declared Thomas Ereyintomi, winner of the election having scored 20,155 votes to defeat his closest opponent Omatseye Young Piero of the Labour Party (LP), who pulled 9, 491 votes.