The Court of Appeal in Abuja has made a significant decision regarding the outcome of the 2023 election for the Aniocha/Oshimili federal constituency in Delta state. The National and State Houses of Assembly Election Tribunal in Asaba had initially declared Ndudi Elumelu, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the winner of the election. However, the Court of Appeal has now set aside this judgment and affirmed Ngozi Okolie, the candidate of the Labour Party (LP), as the duly elected lawmaker.
Kenneth Ibe, the returning officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), had announced that Okolie received 53,879 votes, defeating Elumelu, who garnered 33,456 votes.
Elumelu filed a petition before the tribunal, arguing that Okolie was not properly sponsored by the LP, as he was not a member of the party as of May 28, 2022, when the party’s primary election was conducted.
The tribunal, led by A.Z. Mussa, agreed with Elumelu’s arguments and disqualified Okolie. However, the Court of Appeal has now challenged the tribunal’s decision.
The Court of Appeal sided with Mahmud Magaji, LP’s counsel, in asserting that Okolie was indeed validly nominated and sponsored by his party. Additionally, the appeal court determined that Okolie had resigned from his position as a senior special assistant (SSA) in the Delta state government, as required by the constitution, before the election.
This decision by the Court of Appeal has reversed the outcome of the election, declaring Ngozi Okolie as the rightful representative of the Aniocha/Oshimili federal constituency in Delta state.