Abia 2019: Tribunal affirms Ikpeazu’s victory , dismisses Otti’s petition

September 20th, 2019

From Steve Oko, Umuahia

The Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia, Friday , affirmed the victory of Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the March 9 poll.

Dr. Alex Otti, candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, has challenged Ikpeazu’s election, alleging over voting and massive irregularities in 15 of the 17 Local Government Areas.

Otti who also alleged non compliance with the electoral act had also asked for the annulment of the poll and a rerun.

But delivering judgement on the petition, the Justice Lekan Ogunmoye led – tribunal dismissed the petition saying that the petitioner failed to prove his allegations.

According to the three-man panel of Justices, Otti could not prove his claims of over voting and non compliance with the electoral act.

On the allegation of over voting, the tribunal said that the petitioner relied heavily on card readers instead of voters’ manual register.

The tribunal therefore, declared Ikpeazu as duly elected Governor of the state in the March 9 governorship poll.

Reacting to the judgement, one of the counsels in Ikpeazu’s legal team, Mr. Paul Ananaba, SAN, hailed the tribunal for affirming Ikpeazu’s victory.

Similarly, Ikpeazu’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Onyebuchi Ememanka described the judgement as victory for democracy.

He said the petition lacked substance and could not have stood, hence its dismissal.

Ememanka who said Ikpeazu remained the best option for Abia thanked the tribunal for not succumbing to pressure to truncate the will of the people.

He therefore, called on Otti to join hands with Ikpeazu in his bid to rebuild Abia instead of distracting him with unnecessary legal tussle.

But Otti in his reaction, rejected the judgement describing it as ” a case of technicallities overriding justice”.

Otti who spoke through his Media Aide, Mr. Ferdinand Ekeoma faulted the tribunal’s decision to dismiss the petition on the grounds that the petitioner dumped evidence on the panel.

His words : “The judgement is unacceptable. It’s wrong for the tribunal to say we dumped evidence without proving it.”

Otti said his team of lawyers had gone to get a copy of the judgement and would “do the needful after a careful study “.

The APGA candidate claimed that 14 days granted to him by the tribunal to call his witnesses was not enough for him to call all his witnesses.

He however, vowed to “push on until we get to our destination “.

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