The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for Abia North Senatorial Zone in the February 23, 2019 ballot, Chief Mao Ohuabunwa, has rejected last Thursday’s Court of Appeal verdict upholding the victory of Senator Orji Kalu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election.
Ohuabunwa had gone to the election petition tribunal in Umuahia and challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s declaration of Kalu as the winner.
The tribunal, after hearing Ohuabunwa’s petition, ordered INEC to conduct supplementary polls in eight out of the 11 wards in Arochukwu Council and in some other polling units across the zone where the tribunal ruled the results of the poll were not collated, to determine the true winner of the election.
But having rejected the tribunal’s ruling, Kalu took his appeal to the Court of Appeal Owerri Division, which, last week, upturned the lower tribunal’s verdict and affirmed him (Kalu) as the winner of the poll, ruling, among others, that the lower tribunal erred in its verdict by granting Ohuabunwa the “reliefs he never asked for.”
Reacting to the appellate court’s judgment yesterday, Ohuabunwa claimed that he won the election, arguing that his mandate was stolen.His words, “The senatorial mandate of Abia North electorate was stolen through the collaboration of INEC and compromised security agents who maintained criminal silence in the face of evil. Our judiciary, again, lost another golden opportunity to restore public confidence and rekindle the people’s hope in our fledgling democracy.”
He wondered how the members of the appellate court panel arrived at the conclusion that the lower tribunal erred injustice by ordering a supplementary election in the areas.Ohuabunwa described the judgment as “travesty of justice, bad precedence in our legal system, a judicial nod to illegality and broad-day robbery of the people’s mandate.”
Since the appeal court is the final bus stop for senatorial poll petitions, Ohuabunwa said he had handed over the matter to God and thanked his supporters and loyalists while the legal battle lasted.He urged the Abia North electorate not to despair in their faith in God.