The court of appeal in Abuja has set aside the judgment of the national and state houses of assembly election tribunal in Asaba.
The tribunal had declared Ndudi Elumelu, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as winner of the 2023 election for Aniocha/Oshimili federal constituency, Delta state.
In a judgment on Thursday, the appellate court affirmed Ngozi Okolie, candidate of the Labour Party (LP), as the duly elected lawmaker.
Kenneth Ibe, the returning officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), had announced that Okolie polled 53,879 votes to defeat Elumelu, who got 33,456 votes.
However, Elumelu filed a petition before the tribunal on the grounds that Okolie was not duly sponsored by the LP since he was not a member of the party as of May 28, 2022, when the party’s primary election was held.
The three-member panel of the tribunal, headed by A.Z. Mussa, in its ruling, agreed with Elumelu and disqualified the LP candidate.
But the court of appeal faulted the tribunal for voiding Okolie’s election.
The appellate court agreed with Mahmud Magaji, counsel to LP, that contrary to the findings of the tribunal, Okolie was duly nominated and sponsored by his party.
The appeal court also said that Okolie resigned his appointment as a senior special assistant (SSA) in the Delta state government, as required by the constitution, before the election.