Kalu retains Senate seat, defeats PDP, Labour Party at tribunal

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The Abia-North senatorial district was represented by Senator Orji Kalu, whose win was validated by the National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal in Umuahia on February 25.

Tuesday’s unanimous decision by a three-person panel chaired by Justice Samson Paul-Gang dismissed the plea of Mao Ohuabunwa of the People’s Democratic Party and Nnamdi Iro-Orji of the Labour Party for lack of substance.

The court stated that Kalu’s election met with the Electoral Act’s stipulations while affirming his victory and that of the All Progressives Congress.

The tribunal judges also found fault with the petitioners’ claims that the election was invalid at more than 120 voting places, mostly in the zone’s Ohafia and Arochukwu Local Government Areas.

Iro-Orji and Ohuabunwa, the runner-up and third-place finishers in separate lawsuits, argued that there were irregularities in the former Abia Governor’s election and urged the court to annul it.

The PDP and Labour Party’s contention that the total number of registered voters in the allegedly affected polling stations was significantly more than the margin of victory between Kalu and the first and second runners-up was also rejected by the tribunal.

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Kalu’s trial and conviction was cited by the Court in support of his constitutional ability to run for office.
The tribunal judges also interpreted and resolved two further Labour Party challenges to Kalu’s election, confirming Kalu as the senator of Abia North who was legitimately elected.

In the hotly contested senatorial election on February 25, Kalu, who presently serves as the chairman of the Senate Committee on Privatisation and Commercialization, was declared the victor by INEC after receiving 30,805 votes to defeat Iro-Orji and Ohuabunwa, who received 27,540 and 15,175 votes, respectively.

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