Regarding the petitions contesting the election of Benjamin Kalu, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, the National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal in Umuahia has reserved judgment.

It was announced on Monday by the three-person panel, presided over by Justice Samson Paul-Gang, that it will inform the petitioners’ parties of the judgment’s scheduled delivery date.

Mr Paul-Gang disclosed this after the adoption of the final written addresses by the Counsel to all the litigants.

Chief Frank Chinasa of the Labour Party and Ifeanyi Igbokwe of Action Alliance (AA) are challenging the re-election of Kalu of APC, representing Bende Federal Constituency of Abia.

Adopting his final written address, Counsel for Chinasa, Yunus Usman (SAN), urged the tribunal to set aside all the votes in favour of Kalu by reason of his non-qualification for the February 25 poll.

Usman contended that Kalu was not qualified because he did not possess the requisite educational requirements as provided for in Section 65(2)(a) of the 1999 Constitution.

He further argued that Kalu used different names in different educational certificates, other than Kalu Benjamin Okezie, which he currently bears.

He also said that Form EC9, submitted to INEC by Kalu, bore “Osisiogu Benjamin Okezie”.

He insisted that other documents, including his birth certificate, first degree certificate, NYSC Certificate and WASC, bore “Kalu Benjamin Okezie”, and “Benjamin Okezie Osisiogu”, respectively.

Also adopting his final written address, Counsel to AA, Mr Daniel Anya, asked the tribunal to annul Kalu’s election over the exclusion of party’s name and logo from the ballot during the poll.

On the other hand, Kalu’s counsel, Mr Kelvin Nwufo, while adopting his final written address, asked the court to dismiss the petitions for lacking in merit.

Nwufo argued that the contention that Kalu presented certificates with inconsistent names “did not hold water since they all belong to him”.

He said that his client had already regularised the names.

According to him, the inconsistencies in Kalu’s names were “validly harmonised” through a Deed of Proof and Federal Government’s gazette, where the change of name is recorded.

In a similar vein, Counsel for APC, Mr Virgilus Nwankwo, contended that the petitioners’ allegation that Kalu used different names to suit different situations did not imply fraud.

Nwankwo said that the petitioners failed to prove that Kalu “is not the owner of the certificates with different names or that the names do not belong to him.”



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