Barristers & Solicitors
A’Court upholds Waive’s victory, upturns tribunal’s ruling

The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos has set aside the judgement of the National Assembly Elections Tribunal Asaba.

It affirmed the victory of Hon. Francis Ejiroghene Waive as member representing Ughelli North, Ughelli South, and Udu Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.

The lower court had ruled that Waive was not qualified to contest the 2023 general elections because the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) failed to publish Waive’s educational qualifications which were submitted to INEc as required by law.

Waive, who is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), challenged the tribunal’s verdict, arguing that he submitted all the necessary documents to INEC and that the non-publication of his qualifications on the INEC portal was not his fault and that it’s not a ground known to law for the nullification of an election.

In a unanimous judgement delivered on Wednesday, in the case with suit number: CA/AS/EP/ HR/ DL/17/23, WAIVE EJIROGHENE VS. SOLOMON AWHINAWHI & 3 ORS, the appellate court upheld Waive’s appeal and dismissed the cross-appeal filed by his opponent, Solomon Awhinawhi of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The Court granted all the reliefs sorted by waiving and awarding N500,000 each as cost against Solomon Awhinawhi, PDP and INEC.

The court held that the non-publication of Waive’s qualifications by INEC was not a ground for disqualification and that there was no evidence to prove that he forged or falsified any document.

The court also affirmed Waive’s victory at the polls, saying that he scored the highest number of valid votes cast in the constituency.

Reacting to the court verdict, Waive expressed gratitude to God and his constituents for their support and confidence in him. He also commended the justices of the Court of Appeal for restoring justice and faith in the judiciary.

“I am forever grateful to God Almighty for the privilege to serve my people. I appreciate the entire people of Ughelli North Ughelli South Udu Federal Constituency for their massive support. I commend the Justices of the Court of Appeal for restoring justice and faith in our judiciary by ensuring that an ordinary citizen without money and connections gets fair hearing and judgement,” he said.