Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu says he has been 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 is contained in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS) Mr. Levinus Nwabughiogu on Tuesday in Abuja.
Kalu, upon the receipt of the exciting news in Abuja expressed immense gratitude to the judiciary for recognizing that he followed due process and other extant laws to validate his name.
While also thanking the people of Bende federal constituency on whose mandate he stands, the deputy speaker reiterates 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. It has, once again, vindicated me on this matter and also upheld my mandate as the elected representative of the people, in this case, Bende federal constituency of Abia State. I am grateful”, Kalu said.
Recall that 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 the account of alleged inconsistency in his name change.
Recall also that shortly after Kalu’s first term election in 2019, 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.
Ridiculously, Labour Party’s Chinasa also dusted the same matter that had been laid to rest, fronting before the tribunal after this year’s general elections.
In a remarkable, 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 and denied all the prayers of the petitioner for lacking in merit.
The panel held that Kalu’s certificates were never forged and that the names in the certificates were all his.
The tribunal also held that Kalu had since harmonized his names 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 the harmonization of deputy speaker’s name followed the laid down rules.
The tribunal further held that since the election results were never contested, Kalu therefore remains the winner of the National Assembly elections for Bende federal constituency in the House of Representatives.
It will also be recalled that last week, the candidate of the Action Alliance (AA) in the election, Ifeanyi Igbokwe dissociated himself from the suit against Kalu.
Revealing that he had since accepted the outcome of the election, Igbokwe said he never authorized any individual or group of individuals or parties to file any suit on his behalf, insisting that he was impersonated.
The deputy speaker who expressed his happiness over the development from the tribunal also extends his appreciation to his constituents in Bende, others teeming supporters across the country, his legal team and indeed, all those who stood by him throughout the period of this exasperating legal voyage.
He promised not to take the people’s mandate and the demands of his current office for granted.
The deputy speaker however calls his political detractors to shun frivolities, accept his rights under the extant laws, embrace the Will of God and the verdict of the tribunal as well as that of Ndi Bende and join him in the tasks of enacting good legislations for the good of the country.