Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu, has said he was vindicated on the validation of his name by the ruling of the National Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia, the Abia state capital, which also upheld his election.
Kalu’s remarks were contained in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr Levinus Nwabughiogu, on Tuesday in Abuja.
Upon receiving the exciting news in Abuja, Kalu expressed immense gratitude to the judiciary for recognising that due process and other extant laws were followed to validate his name.
While also thanking the people of the Bende federal constituency on whose mandate he stands, the deputy speaker reiterated that his confidence in the judiciary to do justice to issues at all times was unwavering.
“I have never doubted the ability of the judiciary at any level to do justice to issues. My confidence in them has always been unwavering. Once again, it has vindicated me on this matter and upheld my mandate as the people’s elected representative, in this case, the Bende federal constituency of Abia State. I am grateful”, Kalu said.
Election petition: Kalu celebrates victory at tribunal.
The candidate of the Labour Party in the February 25, 2023, National Assembly elections, Frank Chinasa, had petitioned the tribunal, seeking the nullification of Kalu’s election on account of alleged inconsistency in his name after a similar development in Kalu’s first term election in 2019, when one Okay Ezeala also approached the court seeking the nullification of the election on the same ground.
But Justice O A. Chijioke of an Umuahia High Court, while delivering his judgement on the matter on August 25, 2021, ruled in favour of Kalu and subsequently awarded a cost to the petitioner for wasting the time of the court in a frivolous suit.
In a unanimous judgment by the three man-panel read by the Chairman, Justice Samson Paul Gang, on Tuesday, August 22, 2023, in Umuahia, the tribunal dismissed the petition. It denied all the petitioner’s prayers for lacking merit.
The panel held that Kalu’s certificates were never forged and that the names in the certificates were all his, saying that Kalu had since harmonised his words through a Deed Pool published in a federal gazette, backed with a newspaper publication of change of name, insisting that the petitioner could not establish any case of certificate forgery against him.
It also confirmed that harmonising the deputy speaker’s name followed the rules.
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