The National Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) Lagos has declared as inconclusive the election that produced Thaddeus Atta of the Labour Party (LP) as the elected representative for Eti-Osa Federal Constituency.
It ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to Atta.
It also ordered INEC to conduct a supplementary election within 90 days in 33 polling units where it found that elections did not hold.
The ruling followed a petition dated and filed on March 16, 2023 by Olubankole Wellington popularly known as Banky W through his lawyers Dr. Kemi Pinheiro SAN leading Adetokunbo Davies in the law firm of Pinheiro LP, seeking to set aside the return of Atta.
Wellington, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atta and Babajide Obanikoro of the All Progressives Congress (APC), contested to represent the constituency during the February 25 election.
But INEC declared Atta the winner with 24,075 votes, over Wellington who polled 18,666 votes, and Obanikoro, who scored 16,901 votes.
Disputing the declaration, Wellington raised several grounds including that Attah was at the time of the election not qualified to contest the elections as he was not a member of the LP and was not sponsored by the party.
He contended that there were no elections conducted in 38 Polling Units where about 29 thousand people who had their PVCs did not vote.
It was also his case that the number of people who did not vote was more than the margin of lead between him and Atta.
He argued that the electoral umpire ought to have declared the elections as inconclusive and ordered supplementary elections.
Wellington sought several reliefs, including “That it may be determined and thus declared that the 2nd and 3rd Respondents – Thaddeus Attah and Labour Party were not elected and/or returned by a majority of lawful votes cast in the election into the membership of the House of Representatives for the Eti-Osa Federal Constituency held on the 25th February, 2023.
“An order directing the 1st Respondent (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of Return issued to the 2nd Respondent (Attah).
“An order directing the 1st Respondent (INEC) to conduct supplementary elections in the polling units in Eti-Osa Federal Constituency where elections were not held and/or the results were cancelled due to corrupt practices or irregularities.”
In deciding the petition on its merits, the tribunal held that Wellington proved that elections did not hold in several polling units, which was contrary to the Electoral Act.
In the circumstance, the tribunal granted reliefs 3, 4 and 5 of the Petition and ordered the following:
“That the election is declared inconclusive.
“That Labour Party (LP) and Thaddeus Attah’s certificate of return is hereby withdrawn.
“That a supplementary election should be conducted in all the polling units within Eti-Osa Constituency where elections did not hold.”
There are no indications that Atta has filed an appeal against the tribunal’s judgment.