The National/State House of Assembly Election Tribunal sitting in Owerri, Imo State has upheld the election of Senator Hope Uzodimma as the duly elected Senator for the Imo West Senatorial District in the April 11, 2015 National Assembly Election.
In a unanimous decision, the 3-member Tribunal held that Uzodimma’s challenger-Osita Izunaso of the All Progressives Congress (APC) could not prove his case and consequently, dismissed the Petition.
The Tribunal presided over by Justice Ali Garba from Yobe State held that the Petitioner failed to prove that there were no elections in three Local Government Areas of the Senatorial District, namely; Oru-East, Oguta and Ohaji-Egbema.
The Panel agreed with the uncontroverted evidence led by the Respondents in proof of the said election of April 11, 2015.
Further, the Tribunal held that the Petitioner failed to prove that the first Respondent (Senator Hope Uzodimma) did not score the majority of the lawful votes cast in the election and that the Petitioner also failed to prove that he (Izunaso) scored the majority of the lawful votes in the said election.
At the trial, the parties testified and called witnesses and at the end of the proceedings, the Panel distilled the evidence presented by the Petitioners and Respondents and came to the conclusion that the evidence of the respondents were more credible and accordingly confirmed the overwhelming victory of Senator Hope Uzodimma.
It would be recalled that the Petition by the APC Candidate was earlier dismissed before the Tribunal’s Panel one, headed by Justice A. Y. Sanya which held that the petitioner, Izunaso, abandoned his petition by failing to pay the appropriate filling fees for pre-hearing.
The tribunal therefore declared that for failing to pay the appropriate fees as required by law, the petitioner had abandoned his petition and that there was consequently no petition before the tribunal.
However, the Petitioner took the matter to the Appeal Court in Owerri, Imo State which ruled that the case should be heard on its merit.
This would be the second time, Senator Hope Uzodimma would defeat Izunaso in the Senatorial Election but the latter would not let go until a judicial pronouncement.
Reacting to the ruling, an elated Senator Hope Uzodimma attributed the victory to the will of God and the overwhelming confidence his constituents repose in him.
He said that throughout the duration of the trial, he had absolute confidence in the judicial system and the will of God and most importantly the firm conviction that the will of the people must prevail.
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