• Wednesday, June 12, 2024
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BusinessDay

Tribunal dismisses case against election of Kalu, Reps deputy speaker

A petition contesting the election of Benjamin Kalu, deputy speaker of House of Representatives, was dismissed by the National Assembly Election Tribunal sitting in Umuahia, the capital of Abia State, for lack of merit.

The three-person panel, led by Justice Sampson Gane, rendered its decision on the case on Tuesday and found that the first respondent had the right to alter his name because no one or group of people has the exclusive right to any name.

Read also: Race for speaker: Supporters of lawmaker who escaped 100 bullets want Benjamin Kalu to be deputy speaker

The names on Kalu’s certificate were in line with a deed poll that was published in the Federal Government’s official gazette, according to the decision.

The judge found that the petitioner had the burden of proof to establish that the certificates submitted to INEC by the respondent were not his, but he abandoned his case and left it to the respondent to establish.

Read also: Fagbemi urged to ensure security organisations follow court orders

The petition was denied because it lacked merit, and the parties were compelled to pay the administrative fees.

Frank Ifeanyi, the Labour Party candidate for the Bende Federal seat election held on February 18, 2023, had petitioned the tribunal to declare Kalu the election’s invalid winner.

In the petition that was presented to the court on March 17, 2023, Ifeanyi asked that the election be ruled invalid since the first respondent (Kalu) had been mistakenly declared the winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The petitioner further claimed that because the first respondent was the owner of credentials submitted to the second respondent (INEC), he lacked the necessary qualifications to run in the election.

The petitioner claimed that Kalu didn’t receive the most valid votes during the election.

Read more: What are your names, Hon Deputy Speaker Kalu?

Ifeanyi and his party (LP) both urged the court to throw out and disregard the votes cast in favour of the first respondent and to revoke the certificate of return that INEC had issued to him.

Additionally, the petitioner requested that the election be declared invalid unless he received the largest number of valid votes.