The Abia State Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Umuahia, the state capital, has fixed October 6, 2023, to deliver judgment on the petition challenging the victory of the state governor, Alex Otti, as the winner of the March 18 gubernatorial election in the state.
Recall that the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Ikechi Emenike, had approached the Court to seek the sack of Otti over allegations of non-resignation of his membership before joining the Labour Party (LP).
He also alleged that Otti’s name was not in the LP register before he was nominated as the party’s governorship candidate.
Candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Okey Ahaiwe, the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Nana Nwafor and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) also joined in the petition against Otti.
Naija News reports that Otti’s led counsel, Abiodun Owolekoko (SAN), on Tuesday, said his team was optimistic that the tribunal judgment would favour his client.
He said, “We have been on for some time. The election petition has a circle. There is a time for trial, adoption and judgment.
“Today we have concluded on trial and adoption and the tribunal has fixed October 6 for judgment.”
However, Emenike’s counsel, Tochukwu Maduka (SAN), claimed that the defendant’s counsel failed to provide the Labour Party register where his name appeared.
He said that his team prayed the Court to cancel Otti’s votes, as well as that of the PDP and YPP candidates, and declare his client the lawful winner of the election, having scored the highest of lawful votes in the election.
Lead counsel to the PDP candidate, Paul Anaba, said his team agreed with the petitioner to sack Otti but added that PDP would benefit from the petition because the case of non-resignation as the chief of staff to the former governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, holds no water in the eyes of the law.