The fate of the member representing Warri federal constituency at the House of Representatives, Thomas Ereyitomi, would soon be decided by the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Asaba, Delta State.
Ereyitomi of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was declared winner of the February 25 election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
But candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Emmanuel Ekpoto-Ekpoto filed petition against the election at the tribunal, alleging irregularities.
In petition EPT/DL/HR/15/2023, Ekpoto-Ekpoto prayed the tribunal to nullify the declaration of Ereyitomi on the ground that the election was not only marred by irregularities, the PDP candidate allegedly presented forged credentials for the contest.
At the end of the adoption of final written addresses, the three-member tribunal headed by Justice Cathrine Ogunsola, reserved judgement for a later date.
Counsel to the Ereyitomi, Ekeme Ohwovoriole (SAN) and his PDP counterpart, Robinson Ariye, urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition for lack of merit.
In their separate submission, they averred that the instant petition was ab-initio ‘incompetent and inconsistent in material facts.’
Ohwovoriole said the petitioner failed to tender copies of the forms EC8A(II) to be compared with the original copy and could not establish the allegation of over-voting as the BVAS report from the inspection in each polling unit where the malpractice occurred.
Aligning, Ariye said since the petitioner failed to complete the legal rituals of relying on the institution that issued the said forged certificate, the case should be quashed.
However, Oghenero Owoh, counsel to the petitioners, said the fact spoke for itself, noting that the petitioner said no valid election known to law took place in Warri South Local Government Area, hence the tribunal should nullify the election and declare him winner.
By Paul Osuyi