OFFICIAL:Darlington Nwokocha remains the senator representing Abia Central – Court declares

The National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia has validated the election of Senator representing Abia Central at the red chamber, Hon. Darlington Nwokocha of the labour party.

In their judgment, the learned Tribunal dismissed almost all the Petitioners’ grounds by reason of being pre-election matters which ought to have been initiated at the Federal High Court within 14 days of the occurence of the action.

Above that, it held that the question of not being a member of a political party and not being properly elected in a party primaries is an internal affair of a political party and as such can only be challenged by members of the party, particularly a person who participated in such party primaries.

The Petitioners not being members of Labour Party cannot complain of the primaries of Labour Party and who is a member or who was normination or not in the Party primaries as they have no locus standi. The Tribunal quashed all the bundles of exhibits of the Petitioners as being of no evidential value.

In another vane, the tribunal declared one of their grounds invalid by reason of the ground being contradictory in itself – that the Petitioners had prayed the tribunal to declare that there was substantial non-compliance as the election was marred by violence, irregularities, non-voting, snatching of electoral materials and at the same time prayed the tribunal to declare 2nd Respondent as the winner.

It further held that the Petitioners could not prove the allegations of over-voting, mutilations of sheets, violence and corruption, snatching of voting materials, non-compliance with Electoral Act, as they alleged in their petition.

The Petitioners haven failed in their petition, the tribunal declared that Senator DARLINGTON NWOKOCHA was validly elected as declared by the 1st Respondent, Inec.