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Otti Fails To Unseat Ikpeazu At Tribunal

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The 2019 All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship candidate in Abia state, Dr. Alex Otti has failed in his bid to remove Governor Okezie Ikpeazu from office at the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in Umuahia.

In a unanimous judgement delivered on Friday in the capital, Umuahia, the trubunal held that the petitioner failed to prove his allegations of noncompliance with the Electoral Act and over voting in the conduct of the March 9, poll.

Reading the over three hours judgement, the Chairman of the three-member tribunal, Hon Justice Lekan Ogumaye declared Ikpeazu of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), as having been duly elected in the election.

Otti, whose attempt to occupy the Government House in 2015 against Ikpeazu failed at the Supreme Court, wanted the tribunal to annual the results of the election in 15 out of the 17 council areas of the state.

Reacting to the judgement, the state Chairman of the PDP, Chief Jonhson Onuigbo described it as victory for democracy in the state, adding that it has vindicated the decision and mandate of the people of the state at the poll.

Similarly, one of the counsel in the governor’s legal team, Chief Paul Ananaba (SAN), maintained that the judgement had been meticulously and painstakingly arrived at and commended the members for the efforts put to it.

In his reaction, the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Ikpeazu, Barrister Onyebuchi Ememanka said Otti wanted to distract his principal from his moves to uplift the state, saying the tribunal has thrown the bid into judicial dustbin.

However, the Media Aide to the petitioner, Mr. Ferdinand Ekeoma, speaking on his behalf, expressed dissatisfaction with the judgement, adding that it was a case of technicality overriding the law.

He said though he will not cast aspersions on the tribunal, he found it difficult to understand how it arrived at the judgement, adding that the petitioner had instructed his counsel, Prince Lateef Fagbemi to appeal against it.

Meanwhile, Ikpeazu has rededicated the victory to the people of the state, saying the judiciary has again proved to be the last hope of the common man, and extended hand of fellowship to Otti and other candidates in the election.

Ikpeazu, who spoke to newsmen at the Government House, noted “As I speak, about five candidates have come to participate in our policy making to fashion out a good direction for the state in the next four years.”

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