Kalu Retains Senate Seat, Defeats PDP, LP at tribunal

The National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia has upheld the victory of Senator Orji Kalu representing Abia North Senatorial District in the February 25 polls.

A 3-man panel led by Justice Samson Paul-Gang in its unanimous ruling on Tuesday dismissed the petition of People’s Democratic Party’s Mao Ohuabunwa and Labour Party’s Nnamdi Iro-Orji for lacking merit.

The court while upholding the victory of Kalu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) said that his election complied with the provisions of the Electoral Act.

The tribunal judges also faulted the arguments of both petitioners that the election did not hold in over 120 polling units mainly in Ohafia and Arochukwu Local Government Areas of the zone.

Iro-Orji and Ohuabunwa who came second and third respectively in separate suits had asked the court to overturn the election of the former Abia Governor as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, alleging irregularities.

The tribunal also cancelled the petition of the PDP and Labour Party argument that the total number of registered voters in the allegedly affected polling units was far above the margin of win between Kalu and the first and second runners-up.

The Court in its constitutional interpretation also validated Kalu’s eligibility to contest the election, stating that his trial and conviction were quashed by the Supreme Court.

Two other matters filed by the Labour Party challenging Kalu’s election were also interpreted and laid to rest by the tribunal judges and thus declared Kalu the duly elected Senator of Abia North.

Kalu who currently presides as the Chairman Senate Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation was declared winner by INEC of the keenly contested February 25 Senatorial polls having scored 30,805 votes to defeat Iro-Orji and Ohuabunwa who got 27,540 and 15,175 respectively.