Tribunal admits exclusion of AA logo in Bende Federal Constituency election

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The National Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal in Abia State has admitted the exclusion of the Action Alliance (AA) logo in the House of Representatives election in Bende Federal constituency.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Hon Benjamin Kalu as winner of the election in the federal constituency.

However, the AA is challenging the election on the ground that its logo was missing on the ballot paper.

The AA candidate, Mr Ifeanyi Chukwuka Igbokwe had claimed that the AA logo and the name of the party were excluded from the ballot paper..

Igbokwe and his party are challenging the election of the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives and member representing Bende federal constituency, Rt. Benjamin Kalu .

The Petitioners want the tribunal to set aside Kalu’s election over the alleged exclusion of the party’s name and logo on the ballot papers.

AA argued that its candidate if not excluded ought to have won the February 25 national assembly election in the federal constituency.

A certified true copy of a protest letter by AA to INEC where the party complained about the exclusion was tendered in evidence by the National Secretary of AA, Ambassador Suleiman Abdulrasheed.

Subsequently, despite objections by the Respondents’ legal team, the Hon. Justice Samson Paul Gang-led three man panel admitted the documents as exhibit.

The AA National Scribe told the tribunal that Hon. Justice Z. P Abubakar of the Federal High Court Abuja, had in a judgement on suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1759/2022, delivered on November 4, 2022, ordered INEC to immediately upload and publish Igbokwe as the validly nominated AA candidate but INEC refused to do so.

Counsels to all Respondents after objecting to the admissibility of the document said they would give reasons during the submission of the final written addresses.

The AA candidate, Igbokwe, who also testified before the tribunal, during cross examination told the tribunal that the non inclusion of his party’s name and logo, and his subsequent non participation robbed his of victory at the poll.

But Counsels to the Respondents argued that the AA candidate was not validly nominated by his party.

Hearing on the matter was adjourned till Friday for continuation.

Other members of the panel include Hon. Justice Kabiru Ibrahim Ahmed (Member 1); and Hon. Justice Abdulfatai Baba Sekori (Member 2).

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