By PETER OKUTU
ABAKALIKI—DEPUTY Speaker, Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Valentine Okike, of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, weekend, won at the Legislative Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abakaliki as the petition challenging his victory at the April polls was struck out.
The petitioner, Mr. Nelson Ude-Umanta, of All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, had challenged the declaration of Okike by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as winner of the election.
In his petition, Ude-Umanta had prayed the tribunal to declare him winner, adding that the election that took place in his opponent’s Wards were marred by electoral violence, ballot papersnatching, and falsification of data.
Counsel to Okike, Mr. S.O. Okoronkwo, had charged the tribunal not to consider the petitioner’s claim that the election was marred by irregularities.
In his ruling, Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Henry Olusiyi, struck out the petition because of non-compliance with relevant sections of the Electoral Act as amended.
In a reaction, Okike commended the judiciary for standing on the path of truth, adding that those petitioners whose cases lacked merit should not be allowed any head way at the tribunal.