NEWS

Tribunal Declares Delta South Senatorial Polls Inconclusive, Orders Re-run

The National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal convened in Asaba, Delta State, on Wednesday, announced that the National Assembly election in Delta South Senatorial district, which took place on February 25, 2023, was inconclusive.

Additionally, the tribunal instructed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to organize a supplementary re-run election in the disputed Warri South Local Government Area of the state.

Micheal Diden, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, had filed a petition with the tribunal, contesting INEC’s declaration of Joel Onowakpo-Thomas, the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate, as the election winner. Diden’s petition challenged the election results’ cancellation in Warri South, seeking either a declaration of victory for himself or, as an alternative, a declaration of the election as inconclusive, with a supplementary rerun election in the council area.

While the second respondent, Onowakpo-Thomas, alleged the diversion of BVAS machines and irregularities in the aforementioned local government area, the petitioner argued that the elections in the council area were conducted peacefully but were unlawfully canceled. The petitioner also contended that the results of the presidential and House of Representatives elections held simultaneously with the Senate election were not canceled, emphasizing that the same accreditation and voting process applied to all three elections.

In delivering its judgment, the three-member tribunal, led by Justice Cathrine Ogunsola, granted the petitioner’s alternate relief, affirming that the second respondent failed to substantiate claims of irregularities justifying the election results’ cancellation.

She said: “The tribunal declares that the second respondent was not duly elected or returned by majority of lawful votes in Delta South Senatorial district on 25th February, 2023

“The tribunal declares that elections held in Delta South were inconclusive and a supplementary re-run election be held in Warri South Local Government Area.

“The tribunal hereby set aside the Certificate of Returns issued to the second respondent by the first respondent in respect in respect of the February 23rd election into the Senate for Delta South senatorial district having not been duly elected.”

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