The Election Appeal Tribunal sitting in Owerri, Imo State on Friday affirmed the election of the Senate Committee Chairman on Information and National Orientation, Senator Enyinnaya Harcourt Abaribe as the validly elected senator representing Abia South Senatorial District in the Senate.
The three-man appeal panel led by Justice Tur in a late evening judgment not only upheld the senator’s appeal against the lower tribunal judgment ordering a rerun election in Obingwa and some wards in Ugwunagbo local government areas of Abis State, but also struck out the cross-appeal filed by Chief Chris Nkwonta for being incompetent and not in compliance with legal procedures. He awarded a cost of N50,000 against Nkwonta, who had challenged Abaribe’s election the lower tribunal.
Nkwonta had in the cross-appeal prayed the appeal court to declare him the winner of the election and set aside the judgment of the lower tribunal, which had ordered a staggered rerun election.
Abaribe, who was a Deputy Governor of Abia State, is a currently a third term senator in the Senate where he was its spokesman in the 7th Session.
In his ruling, the judge held that the petitioners/respondents failed to prove their allegations challenging the election and added that Abaribe’s election was valid as it complied with the electoral Act
Abaribe’s legal team was led by Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu SAN, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu SAN, Emeka Etiaba SAN, LTC Eruba esq and Emeka Eze esq who coordinated the team among other lawyers.
Nkwota’s legal team was led by Prof Awa Kalu SAN, Chief Chris Uche SAN among other lawyers.
Reacting to the victory, Abaribe hailed the judgment and dedicated to Almighty God, who made it possible and assured his constituents of his continued valuable and dedicated representation in the upper chamber.