Anambra Election Petitions Tribunal Affirms Election of LP Lawmaker, Afam Ogene
The Anambra State National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Awka, the state capital, has affirmed the election of Hon. Victor Afam Ogene as the authentic winner of the 2023 general election for Ogbaru Federal Constituency.
The judgment of the three man panel headed by Justice S. Y. Abubakar unanimously affirmed that Hon. Ogene who is also the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Renewable Energy, as the authentic winner of the election.
Recall that Hon. Afam Ogene of the LP was declared winner of the election after a supplementary poll conducted by the Independent National Election Commission, (INEC) on April 15th 2023, prompting his PDP opponent, to contest the result at the tribunal.
In his reaction after the tribunal judgment, Hon. Ogene described his victory as, “A validation of the will of the people, grace of God.”
One of the three-man panel, Justice B. M. Kucheri, who read the judgment on behalf of others, declared that the petition brought by the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) Hon. Chukwuka Onyema lacked merit.
“This petition is lacking in merit and is accordingly dismissed. The election of Hon. Victor Afam Ogene is hereby affirmed by this tribunal,” Justice Kucheri declared.
Earlier, while reviewing the petition the tribunal judges had dismissed Onyema’s claim that elections were not held in seven polling units of the Federal Constituency, saying that he did not lead evidence to substantiate or prove his claims.
The tribunal further dismissed the petitioner’s claim that Hon. Ogene was not a bona fide member of Labour Party under which platform he won the election as at the time he was nominated as candidate of the party.
Hon. Ogene was declared winner of the Ogbaru Federal Constituency election by the Returning Officer, Dr. Kingsley Uboji, of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) Awka, after the April 15th 2023 Supplementary election was conducted as the Federal Constituency polls was earlier declared inconclusive, by INEC after February 25th, 2023 general elections.
After Justice Kucheri delivered the judgment of the tribunal, two other members of the tribunal, the chairman, Justice S. Y. Abubakar and Justice I. O. Akinkugbe, concurred with the judgment as delivered by Justice Kucheri.
In his reaction, the winner, member representing Ogbaru Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Afam Victor Ogene, described the National Assembly Election Tribunal verdict as a “true validation of the will of the people and the undeniable grace of God.”
Recall that the INEC had declared the LP candidate Hon. Afam Ogene as winner after he score 10,851 votes of the total votes cast, followed by the candidate of the PDP who polled 10, 619 votes, while the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Hon. Arinze Awogu, came third with 10,155 votes.
The election in Ogbaru Federal Constituency was declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission, after the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections.
As a result, a rerun election was held at the constituency on April 15, but unsatisfied with the result, Hon. Onyema, who had held three tenures of office, proceeded to the tribunal to challenge Ogene’s victory.
An elated Ogene expressed gratitude to God for the victory and grace to represent his constituents at the House of Representatives. He also thanked Ogbaru people and his teeming supporters for their selfless support, encouragement and prayers.
He assured that the special victory would further energize him to continue to provide quality representation for the people, and extended hands of fellowship to his opponent, urging him to avoid the temptation of further judicial brickbats.
Hon. Ogene said, “I want to specially appreciate God for His faithfulness in always ensuring that the light which He lit for the people would never be extinguished by the shenanigans of those who seek to exalt themselves against His will and His divine agenda for Ndi Ogbahu.”
“I also want to sincerely appreciate the entire Ogbahu people, irrespective of political or social divides, for their steadfastness in working and praying for the good of Ogbahu. We are remarkably a peaceful people, and should not allow politics or personal interest of the political class or politically exposed people to divide or destroy us.
“Ogbaru Federal Constituency is not a private estate of anyone or group of individuals. Leadership positions are entrusted to individuals at a time, to work for, and protect the interest of the people. It should never be a do or die affair, because it is only God that determines who should lead the people at any given time.
“I have won election in the past. And I had also lost election in 2015 as an incumbent representative. But I just moved on and waited for God’s own time. I didn’t take my opponent to the court, because I considered that doing so would hurt the interest of Ogbaru as tribunal distractions would impact adversely on the quality of representation that the people deserve.”
“It is in this light that I pay glowing tribute to my brother and All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA candidate in the election, Comrade Arinze Awogu, for electing to align with the people’s will, by refusing to go to the Tribunal.”
“Ogbaru deserves the best and should demand for the best, but such legitimate aspiration would be jeopardised, should we continue to allow politics of acrimony to erode our oneness and the political space.
“Once again, I congratulate the good people of Ogbaru, because with this vital victory, we shall now concentrate fully in the service of the people, in the true sense of representative democracy. I also say kudos to the judiciary, whose judgement remarkably aligns with the will of the Ogbaru electorate.”