Elumelu, PDP Abandons Claim, Says Okolie, LP, Pray Tribunal To Dismiss Petition.

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The National and State House of Assembly Election Tribunal sitting at Asaba has been prayed upon to dismiss the entire election petition filled by Hon. Ndudi Elumelu and PDP against INEC, Labour Party and Hon. Ngozi Okolie.

The Counsel to the 3rd Respondent, (Hon. Ngozi Okolie), Chike Onyemenam, SAN, made the prayer last Saturday, 15th July, 2023 during the National and State Houses of Assembly Election Tribunal sitting at Asaba, Delta State.

Chike Onyemenam, SAN, told the Tribunal that, the following points were, from the written addresses and the oral arguments canvassed, the Petitioners, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu and PDP abandoned their Claims that Honourable Ngozi Okolie of the Labour Party (LP) won the Election into the Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency by a Landslide Victory by defeating Honourable Ndudi Elumelu with more than Twenty Thousand Votes.

He noted that, the Petitioners also abandoned their Claims that the Election was rigged or was invalid and that the Tribunal should declare the Election Null and Void and order INEC to conduct fresh Election for Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency.

Chika Onyemenam, SAN, Counsel for the 3rd respondent, consequently urged the Tribunal to Strike out Grounds 14(2) & 14(3) of the Petition and paragraphs 15, 18-33 of the Petition since both Parties agree that they have been abandoned.

4. The 3rd Respondent’s Counsel argued that, the only Ground remaining in the Petition is the Claim by the Petitioners that Hon. Ngozi Okolie was not qualified to contest the Election for several reasons.

Counsel to Hon. Lawrence Ngozi Okolie now prayed the Honourable Tribunal to dismiss the entire Petition with the submission that, “since none of Three Witnesses called by the Petitioners adopted a Depositon or gave any Oral evidence to say that Hon. Ngozi Okolie was not qualified to contest the Election for any reason, the Petition is deemed in law to have been abandoned as the Supreme Court has decided that where a Petitioner fails to field a Witness to adopt his Depositon or fails to lead oral evidence in respect of the Petitioner’s Claims, the Petitioner is dead and cannot be revived by looking for evidence from the Opponents(Defendants) to revive a dead Petition”.

He further cited Supreme Court decisions which recently held that the Tribunal is also not permitted by Law to start inspecting the INEC Documents and Reports tendered by the Petitioners’ Counsel from the Bar and by the INEC Witness on Subpoena without any evidence to support or link the Documents and Reports to any part of the Petition; so as to discover violations inside the Documents, because the Supreme Court has decided that such Documents dumped on a Tribunal without Oral evidence are worthless Documents.

The 3rd Respondent’s Counsel also cited Supreme Court Judgements which established that PDP and its Candidate do not have the Locus Standi or right to complain that Labour Party and its Candidate did not hold Primary Election for which the Petitioners equally did not lead any Oral evidence in respect of, save to tender Reports and Exhbits not linked to any Oral evidence or any part of the Petition and urged the Honourable Tribunal to dismiss the Petition for failure of the Petitioners to lead any evidence, let alone, credible evidence, to make out a prima facie case against Honourable Ngozi Okolie and Labour Party.