Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu has welcomed the striking out of the purported petition against his election by the Action Alliance (AA) at the National Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia, the Abia State capital.
Recall that on Tuesday, the tribunal also delivered a remarkable judgement on the petition filed by the candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Frank Chinasa in the February 25, 2023 elections for Bende Federal Constituency of Abia State in Kalu’s favour.
The three man tribunal headed by the Chairman, Justice Samson Paul Gang also denied Chinasa’s prayers to declare Kalu unqualified for the elections over an alleged inconsistency in his name.
The tribunal ruled that Kalu’s followed due process to validate his name, saying the petition was unnecessary.
Also, in quick succession, the court on Thursday struck out the petition filed by AA against Kalu.
Recall that Igbokwe recently distanced himself from the suit, said he never filed or authoritized anyone to initiate any legal action against Kalu.
The AA candidate further said he was impersonated and subsequently petitioned the police and the department of state service over the matter.
In a phone call to the office of the deputy speaker shortly after the ruling, Igbokwe said he was happy the matter was dismissed.
He said: “I made a move and that’s what I will call destiny move. When it is time for God to bless you or make you to know some things you don’t know, because you must crawl before you walk, you must work with a leader that has vision. Rt. Hon. Benjamin has really done well for Bende people. So, I am happy that I noticed what happened on time and came out and said that I am not the one that filed that suit. I didn’t even take him to court. So, I am surprised that such a thing happened there. We thank God. God had to use the lawyers and the lawyers to have a very good judgement today. That’s why I am very happy”.
Similarly, Igbokwe’s lawyer in the case, Barrister Lawrence Ugochukwu Nwokocha said the court agreed with their position in the sense that his client didn’t file any matter.
“The court agreed with our position in the sense that we did not authorize anybody to file any petition on behalf of Ifeanyi. He was present in court. The court in their ruling said they were satisfied with the proper identity of the person of Ifeanyi. In summary, the court granted our prayer to withdraw the suit and strike out and dismiss the petition entirely. So, for now, there is no case from AA or Ifeanyi Igbokwe as it were”, Nwokocha said.
In his reaction contained in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Levinus Nwabughiogu, the deputy speaker welcomed the tribunal’s ruling, saying he was impressed that Igbokwe took the decision to accept the verdict of the people at the polls, moreso, the fact that the candidate recognized that the action against him was borne out of mischief.
He saluted Igbokwe for his courage and thanked the Judiciary for granting his prayers to withdraw the matter.