By Patrick Adamagu
THE election tribunal sitting at Asaba, the Delta State capital, has nullified the election of the member representing Ethiope federal constituency in the House of Representative, Hon Ben Igbakpa.
Igbakpa, a loyalist of the political dynasty of former governor James Ibori, was elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.
The tribunal in its ruling, asked the lawmaker to vacate the seat for his opponent, Chief Halims Agoda of the All Progressives Congress.
Agoda had approached the tribunal urging it to declare him as the rightful winner of the 23rd February 2019 National Assembly Election in the constituency as the exercise was marred by electoral irregularities.
Delivering her judgement on Friday in Asaba, the chairman of the Tribunal, Justice A.M. Abubakar, after listening to the issues raised declared that Agoda was the rightful winner of the election.
The tribunal ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to withdraw the Cerficate of Return earlier issued to Igbakpa, and issue same to the APC candidate, Agoda, who won the election.
Speaking immediately after the court judgment, Agoda dedicated the tribunal victory to the people of Ethiope Constituency who he said voted him as member of the National Assembly and thanked the judiciary for having the courage to correct the wrong done to him during the election.
Igbakpa while vowing to appeal the ruling in a brief statement, said: “Dear Ethiope Federal constituency, calm your nerves. I will appeal the tribunal judgement and it will end in praise.”