The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Lokoja has sacked the Senator representing Kogi East Senatorial District, Jibrin Isah Echocho, of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and ordered a rerun between him and the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last election, Dr. Victor Adoji.
But Echocho, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Customs, has indicated interest in challenging the tribunal’s judgment, expressing dissatisfaction with the judgment.
The tribunal Chairman, Justice K.A. Orjiako, who delivered the judgment on the petition brought before it by Dr Victor Adoji, Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), agreed with the prayers of Adoji.
Adoji, had through his Counsel, Mr Johnson Usman (SAN), challenged the return of Jibrin Isah on the ground that elections were cancelled in some polling units where the PVCs collected were more than the margin of his (Chocho’s) win.
The petitioner had pleaded with the tribunal to void the election of Isah and order for a supplementary election in the affected 94 polling units in the senatorial district.
Delivering a unanimous Judgement of the Tribunal, Justice K.A. Orjiako agreed with the submission of Usman SAN as he annulled Isah’s victory and ordered for the withdrawal of his certificate of return.
“Since the PVCs collected in the 94 polling units is 59,730, while the margin of win is 26,922 votes, the Returning Officer ought to have declared the election inconclusive without making a return.
“Consequently, this honourable Tribunal hereby grant the reliefs sought by the Petitioners. We also set aside the Certificate of Return issued to Jibrin Isah.
“The tribunal hereby also order INEC to conduct a supplementary election in the affected polling units where election did not hold or cancelled in order to determine the winner, ” justice Orjiako declared.
The tribunal also ordered Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a supplementary election in the affected 94 polling units.
Echocho had garnered 108,784 votes being the highest against Victor Adoji of the Peoples Democratic Party who scored 81,867 in the March 2023 senatorial election.1aw3
However, Echocho faulted the tribunal’s decision, citing an earlier judgement that forbids additional inclusion of polling units to the legally approved ones.
He said the interpretation of the tribunal raises serious questions, which has prompted him to seek the right interpretation through the appellate court.
He said he is determined to defend his electoral victory and uphold the integrity of the electoral process.
The Senator however told his supporters to exercise restraint but remain resolute as they pursue the next legal option.
The Tribunal in its ruling ordered the rerun in 94 polling units with over 59,730 votes.