The Bayelsa Election Petitions Tribunal, sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday dismissed two petitions filed challenging the election of Rep. Fred Obua of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),as the winner of the Feb, 23 election for Ogbia Federal Constituency.
The African Democratic Congress (ADC), and its candidate, Jude Rex–Ogbuku dragged Obua, PDP, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and 63 INEC officials, before the Tribunal.
The petitioners challenged the result of the election on grounds that the process was marred by irregularities by corrupt practices and non- compliance with the provisions and principles of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).
The petitioners also challenged the election on the ground that the first respondent, Obua was not duly elected by majority votes.
They therefore, sought for the cancellation of the election.
Delivering judgment, Justice Kenneth Wosu, who led a three-member panel, held that the main issue the petitioners anchored their contention on, was on non-compliance to Electoral Act and allegations of irregularities which they said marred the entire election process.
Wosu further said, in order to prove this allegation, concrete evidence beyond reasonable ought to have been presented by the petitioners.
He however, averred that no witness was able to prove that there was ballot snatching during the election.
In addition, the Tribunal said the documents tendered were contradictory as many of them were on hearsay.
According to the judgment also, the uniformity in the witnesses statements on oath brought into question the credibility of their statements.
The judge added that most of the witnesses were inconsistent during cross-examination and their performance rendered the burden placed on the petitioners to prove the allegation unsatisfactory.
Wosu said the chief witness, the first petitioner, Rex-Ogbuku during cross-examination admitted that he was not present in all the polling units and also admitted that he did no know the total number of votes he was challenging.
The Tribunal concluded by saying that all issues formulated in the petition were resolved in favour of the respondents and against the petitioners.
” Therefore, all reliefs sought by the petitioners are denied as the petition lack merit and credibility”, he added.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN),reports that similar a petition against Obua filed by Samuel Ogbuku of All Progressive Congress (APC), was also dismissed by the Tribunal in favour of Obua.
Ogbuku who filed the petition on grounds of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act stated that the election was marred by irregularities and that Obua who was a commissioner, Ministry of Special Projects in Bayelsa did not resign before contesting for election.
He therefore said, the Honourable was not qualified to have contested in the election for Ogbia Federal Constituency of Bayelsa.
The petitioner also averred that Obua presented forged documents to INEC.
The judgment which was delivered by a member of the three-man panel, Justice Habibu Mikailu said, the petitioners failed to prove their allegation of non-compliance as directly committed by the respondents and as it affected the outcome of the election.
The judge also stated that on the issue of forged documents that the petitioners should have presented two documents, the original and the forged document to prove their case.
“The petition is hereby dismissed, the petitioners having failed to provide concrete evidence to prove their case and having also failed to prove their criminal allegations beyond reasonable doubt”, the judge concluded.