Law News
Tribunal upholds Bayelsa PDP Senator’s victory

The Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, has struck out a suit of certificate forgery brought against Senator Foster Ogola of the Peoples Democratic Party.

The suit was dismissed on Saturday after the tribunal had taken closing statements from the legal teams representing both parties over a fortnight ago.

Senator Ogola was declared winner of the Bayelsa West Senatorial District election on May 28 but Mr. Eddy Julius, candidate for the All Progressives Congress and the party challenged his (Ogola’s) victory, saying he was not qualified to represent the district.

Julius, represented by his lawyer, Somina Johnbull, had alleged that Ogola forged his First School Leaving Certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission to enable him contest the election and urged the commission to withdraw the certificate of return and present it to him.

He had prayed the court to grant his reliefs and declare him (Julius), who came second, the winner of the election by the virtue of “doctrine of wasted votes.”

The petitioners had joined the Independent National Electoral Commission and the PDP in the case of certificate forgery against Senator Ogola in the complaint filed on April 18.

But delivering judgment, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Chikere Annie Ononneze, dismissed the petitioner’s suit for lack of evidence and upheld the election of Ogola.

The tribunal had earlier taken the closing arguments of both parties but the plaintiffs only presented Julius as witness and failed to present other nine witnesses or any evidence before the tribunal.

The respondents had urged the court to strike out the case as the plaintiffs had failed to prove their case and that there were no issues of substantial non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act.

APC and Julius were represented by Somina Johnbull while INEC and PDP was represented by Joe’Kyari Gadzama.

Speaking to journalists after the judgment, the counsels for the PDP and INEC commended the tribunal for the decision in striking out the suit and upholding the election of Senator Ogola.

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