Tribunal declares Delta South Senatorial polls inconclusive

The National Election Petitions Tribunal in Delta State has issued a verdict on Wednesday, declaring the February 25, 2023 National Assembly election in Delta South Senatorial district inconclusive.
Elections petition tribunal
Elections petition tribunal The guardian

the tribunal, consisting of three members and headed by Justice Cathrine Ogunsola, also directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to organize a supplementary re-run election in the contested Warri South Local Government Area of the State.

The dispute arose from a petition filed by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Micheal Diden, who challenged INEC's declaration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Joel Onowakpo-Thomas, as the winner of the election. Diden contested the cancellation of election results in Warri South by INEC and requested that the tribunal either declare him the winner of the polls or, as an alternative, declare the election inconclusive and order a supplementary rerun election in the council area.

In response, the second respondent, Onowakpor-Thomas, alleged the diversion of BVAS machines and irregularities in the contested local government area. However, the petitioner argued that elections in the council area were conducted peacefully but were unlawfully canceled.

Furthermore, the petitioner pointed out that the results of the presidential and House of Representatives elections, held simultaneously with the Senate election, were not canceled, as the same process of accreditation and voting applied to all three elections.

Justice Cathrine Ogunsola, in delivering the tribunal's judgment, granted the petitioner's alternate relief. She stated that the second respondent failed to prove irregularities significant enough to justify the cancellation of the election results.

The tribunal declared that the second respondent was not duly elected or returned by a majority of lawful votes in Delta South Senatorial district on February 25, 2023. Consequently, it declared the elections in Delta South inconclusive and ordered a supplementary re-run election in Warri South Local Government Area.

The tribunal also nullified the Certificate of Returns issued to the second respondent by the first respondent regarding the February 23rd Senate election for Delta South senatorial district, as the second respondent had not been duly elected.

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