Tribunal invalidates Bayelsa Rep election, orders rerun

In a judgment handed down on Thursday in Yenagoa by Justice Sylvester Odili on the petition marked EPT/BY/HR/01/2023 that was filed by the candidate for the All Progressives Congress, Michael Olomu, the National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal in Bayelsa State declared that the election of the member representing Sagbama-Ekeremor Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, Fred Agbedi, was invalid.

In some voting units and wards in the Sagbama and Ekeremor LGAs, where the election was marred by violence and other anomalies, the tribunal further ordered INEC to hold a second election within 90 days.

The panel concluded that INEC’s flagrant violations of the Electoral Act of 2022 had a significant impact on the results of the elections in the named polling units and wards.

In its ruling, the tribunal identified the impacted regions for the commission to conduct a new election in within 90 days as being 17 polling units in Wards 10, 11, and 12 of the Ekeremor LGA, six in Ward 11, and all of the polling units in Ward 5 of the Sagbama LGA.

The panel determined that 26, 471 out of the total number of registered voters in the concerned wards and voting units in both LGAs were disenfranchised as a result of violence and other irregularities.

After the verdict was announced, Agbedi gave a press conference where he declared himself ready for the further voting.

He said, “That is justice served and I’m ready for the supplementary election. No appeal, that’s my personal decision.”

On his part, Olomu said he would consult his party and lawyers on the next step to take on the outcome of his petition.

He said, “This is a clear indication that in the 25th of February election, I clearly won, as stated by the tribunal. 26,000 plus votes were not given to me. And the court has said that we should go for a re-run. I will consult the party and my lawyers and a decision will be taken immediately.”

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