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Delta tribunal judgment: LP kicks, as Okolie vows to appeal ruling



The Labour Party has expressed shock over the judgement by the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Asaba, Delta State, which sacked Ngozi Okolie, member representing Aniocha-Oshimili Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives under its platform.

A statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Obiora Ifoh, in Abuja, said the issue of nomination of candidates as well as membership are internal affairs of the party beyond the jurisdiction of courts.

Ifoh added that it was only a political party that could determine who its members were and who their standard bearer was in an election.

“However, it is a notorious principle of law that courts have no right whatsoever to dabble into the internal affairs of political parties so as to choose their candidates for them” or decide the status of their membership,” Ifoh added.

Recall that the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Asaba, Delta State, declared Ndudi Elumelu of the PDP as the winner of the 2023 House of Representatives election for the constituency.

The tribunal held that Okolie was not duly sponsored by the Labour Party since he was not a member of the party as of May 28, 2022, when the party’s primary was held, and therefore declared the runner-up in the Feb. 25, 2023, National Assembly, Ndudi Elumelu of the PDP as the winner.

Meanwhile, Okolie has vowed to appeal the tribunal judgement annulling his election.

Okolie announced the decision at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday.

The lawmaker said that the judgement had no legal basis and pledged his readiness to appeal the judgement.

Okolie refuted the court’s judgement that he contested the election while in office as against the constitution, stressing that he resigned before the stipulated 30 days to the election as enshrined in the constitution.

He noted that a recent court verdict in Atiku v. Tinubu, APC, ruled that issues of candidacy were the internal affairs of political parties.

“Before I contested the February 25th election, the Peoples Democratic Party government in Delta State, which I served, had stopped my salary, which followed my resignation,” he said.

Okolie emphasised that the election that brought him into office was the most credible in the state since the nation returned to a democratic government.

“I didn’t rig any election; God is my witness; people came out en masse to vote for me. I’ll beat my chest and say I am the only person in that constituency that has won without rigging,” Okolie stated.

The lawmaker expressed dissatisfaction with the judgement and noted that time was getting closer when Nigerians would resort to native shrines to seek justice because people no longer believed in the judiciary.

Okolie explained that he defected from the PDP to the Labour Party to find an opportunity to assist people in his constituency to boost their standard of living.

“I have a lot of friends in PDP; my aim of joining politics is not to become a member of PDP but to help my community,” he said. “So if I see any opportunity to help my community, I will jump into it.”