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Election Tribunal Affirms Labour Party Candidate Victory in Oshodi/Isolo Constituency

The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Ikeja, Lagos State has affirmed the election and return of the candidate of the Labour Party, Okey-Joe Onuakalusi, as a member representing Oshodi/Isolo Constituency II at the House of Representatives.

The three-member tribunal headed by Justice Abass Abdullahi held that the Petitioner, Ganiyu Johnson of the All Progressives Congress lacks the legal right to meddle in the conduct of a political party of which he isn’t a member of, nor an aspirant.

The other members of the Tribunal are Justices Okon Okon and Esther Alukwu.

Mr Johnson, who was seeking a second term at the green chamber instituted the petition against the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mr Onuakalusi, and the Labour Party.

INEC had declared Mr. Onuakalusi the winner of the February 25, 2023 election, after he polled the highest votes cast totaling 29,386, followed by Mr. Johnson who polled 16,650 votes.

The petitioner brought the petition on two main issues, that his rival wasn’t a member of the Labour Party at the time of the election, and that he wasn’t sponsored by the party, in line with sections 134(1)(a) of the Electoral Act (as amended), and section 65(2)(b) of the Nigerian Constitution (as amended).

He contended that, following the conduct of the primary election of the Labour Party on May 28, 2022, one Augustine Chiagozie Matthew emerged as the winner, and that the Party refused to forward the said Mr Augustine’s name to INEC, as its candidate.

Mr Johnson added that Mr Augustine’s name wasn’t substituted on the grounds of death or withdrawal and that the second respondent’s name isn’t on the register of members of the 3rd respondent, prior to the primary election, neither was he duly sponsored as a candidate for the 3rd respondent.

According to the petitioner, the 2nd respondent’s personal information put in Form EC9 wasn’t submitted prior to the conduct of the election on February 25, 2023.

But, the respondents had argued that the petition was vexatious and an abuse of the court process, urging the tribunal to dismiss the case.

In its final decision, the tribunal said the issue of membership of a political party is both a pre-election and post-election matter.

It also noted that the challenge to the Labour Party’s primary election which produced Augustine Chiagozie has been put to rest by the Federal High Court and the Supreme Court, and that same cannot be revived before the Tribunal.

“…by the contents of the exhibits including R2A and RW3E, the 2nd respondent is a registered member of the party at Okota Ward F30/Isolo LG. This tribunal is fortified by the decision of the Court of Appeal in Jesse Okey Joe & 16 others vs. INEC, and other exhibits that he is a member of the 3rd respondent, and sponsored by it to contest the election to the House of Representatives Oshodi/Isolo Federal Constituency II, Lagos.”

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Akinlade I. WAHAB is a dedicated journalist and the proprietor of I-WAHAB Media. He embarked on his career at Murhi International TV (MiTV) and subsequently joined Radio Nigeria as a Judicial Correspondent.With a profound interest in legal reporting, he currently holds the positions of Chairman at the National Association of Judicial Correspondents (NAJUC), Ikeja Branch, and Chairman at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Radio Nigeria Chapel.As the owner of I-WAHAB Media, he has successfully established Top Court News, a platform renowned for providing comprehensive coverage of court cases and legal developments, with the aim of promoting transparency within the judicial system.Akinlade's diligent work and unwavering commitment to ethical reporting have earned him immense respect within the Nigerian journalism community.

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