The National Assembly Election Tribunal sitting in Enugu has sacked Senator Gilbert Nnaji, representing Enugu East Senatorial District.
The tribunal delivered judgment in the petition filed by the candidate of the People for Democratic Change, former Enugu State governor, Dr. Chimaraoke Nnamani.
The tribunal, headed by Justice Mathew Adewara, held that the election was marred by widespread irregularities and did not comply with the 2010 Electoral Act.
Although, it overturned Nnaji’s election, the tribunal did not declare Nnamani the winner of the contest. Instead, a fresh election was ordered in the senatorial district.
Nnamani had, after Nnaji was declared winner of the Enugu East senatorial poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission, petitioned the tribunal, challenging the result.
The former governor asked the tribunal to declare him winner of the election, or, as an alternative, void the result and order a fresh poll.
In the petition, Nnamani held that substantial irregularities occurred in several areas in the senatorial district, including Isi-Uzo, Nkanu East and Enugu South local government areas.
Delivering its judgment at the headquarters of Enugu State High Court, the tribunal upheld Nnamani’s claims that the election did not comply with the Electoral Act.
The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Adewara, held that allegations of alteration of results and mutilation of ballot materials were proven beyond reasonable doubt by the petitioner.
Relying on the evidence of a forensic expert, who testified on behalf of Nnamani, the tribunal held that irregularities alleged in the conduct of the election were “gross and fundamental”.
Also, the tribunal noted that, in most parts of the senatorial district, the number of votes recorded surpassed the number of registered voters.
Nullifying the election, Adewara said,The first respondent (Nnaji) while trying to deny that irregularities marred the election, exposed more mutilations of results in polling stations where he won.
Meanwhile, the second Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Awka, Anambra State capital, on Monday, upheld the election of former minister of aviation, Princess Stella Oduah of the People’s Democratic Party for Anambra North Senatorial district.