Appeal Court sacks Abia Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, declares APGA’s Alex Otti winner

Alex Otti: The Court of Appeal says he won the governorship election in the state
Alex Otti: The Court of Appeal says he won the governorship election in the state

The Court of Appeal, sitting in Owerri, has removed Okezie Ikpeazu of the Peoples Democratic Party as governor of Abia State.

The court also declared Alex Otti of the All Progressives Grand Alliance  the winner of the April 11 and April 25 supplementary elections in the state.

Delivering judgment in an appeal filed by Mr. Otti, the five-member panel, headed by Justice Oyebisi Omoleye, said the APGA candidate scored 164, 444 valid votes to defeat Mr. Ikpeazu who scored 114, 444 votes.

The court declared that Mr. Otti was the winner of the April 11 and April 25 supplementary elections in Abia.

Justice Omoleye said the cancellation of the elections held in three LGAs of Obingwa, Osisioma Ngwa and Isiala Ngwa by the returning officers after the results were uploaded to INEC was wrong.

“In the Electoral Act, the Returning Officer has the right to only declare results of elections and not to cancel elections.

“This panel discovered that the earlier results uploaded to INEC headquarters correspond with the correct valid registered voters in the three LGAs, while that awarded to the respondent shows over voting and therefore null and void.’’

Justice Omoleye had while reviewing preliminary objections and issues raised by both parties, struck out the preliminary objections by Mr. Ikpeazu’s counsel to the effect that the appeal lacked merit.

The court also turned down the objection raised by the PDP that the members of the panel were wrongfully constituted and affirmed the arguments of Mr. Otti’s counsel.

The appellate court maintained that the lower tribunal erred by not handling all the issues raised before it on their merit.

“It was wrong for the court below to insist that because the appellant failed to appear in person, his matter will not be given due attention.

“For not appearing in person, the first appellant did not abandon his case,” she said.

The court insisted that there was no need to call for re-run because the results of the April 11 and 25 polls clearly present Mr. Otti as the genuine winner of the exercise.

The court therefore directed INEC to issue Certificate of Return to Mr. Otti and swear him in as winner of the Abia Governorship election.

In his reaction to the judgment, Oracle Nwali, a lawyer in Mr. Otti’s legal team, described the victory as “an end of the year gift to APGA”, saying Mr. Otti would not disappoint Abia people.

On his part, Charles Esonu, the PDP secretary in Abia, said the party and its candidate would study the judgment and decide on the next line of action.

Mr. Otti had proceeded to the Court of Appeal after the Abia tribunal gave its judgment on November 3, saying the PDP validly won the election.

In that 85-minute judgment, delivered by its Chairman, Usman Bwala, the tribunal said  the petitioners – Mr. Otti and APGA – failed to prove their claim to have won the election ‘’beyond doubt”.

Mr. Bwala said the petitioners had, on one hand urged the court to nullify the election on grounds that it was marred by irregularities and massive fraud and on the other hand, sought that they should be declared winners of the same election.

He said the petitioners reckoned with the card reader as a means of accreditation during the election of April 11 but failed to agree with use of voter’s register.

The tribunal further refused to grant the petitioners’ request to uphold the cancellation of the results of the election in Obingwa, Osisioma and Isiala-Ngwa North Local Government Areas of the state.

Mr. Bwala said the State Returning Officer, Benjamin Ozumba, was not allowed under the law, to cancel the said results in the first place, hence the subsequent reversal by him had no effect.

He said the onus lay heavily on the petitioners to prove beyond doubt that they won the election as they claimed in their petition.

The tribunal chairman, therefore, dismissed the petition because of the failure of the petitioners to convince the tribunal beyond doubt that they won the election.

Mr. Otti had urged the tribunal to annul the declaration of Mr. Ikpeazu as governor, saying the election was marred by irregularities and substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act.

He, however, urged the tribunal to declare him (Otti) the winner on account of the lawful votes cast during the election.

He also asked the tribunal to uphold Mr. Ozumba’s cancellation of the results for Obingwa, Osisioma and Isiala-Ngwa North LGAs.

He said that Ozumba, having cancelled the results, did not have the power to cancel the result and reverse himself, adding that only the tribunal had the power to reverse the cancellation.

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  • Watch man

    This is America wonder!

  • TrueFairGame

    hmm

  • Cleartruth

    I don’t think dullardino of daura will obey this court order.

    • luv-naija

      If it was PDP, APC, APGA or any other party your feeble comment will still remain the same.
      How inept

    • zacchaeus Akinleye

      Don’t carry your insanity to 2016. Dump your burden of bigotry on the laps of the departing year 2015.

    • DTaj

      Senseless ranting of a shred of spermatozoa that should have been washed off by the mother!

  • SamPsalm

    2015 ended well. At Abia State: Joy to the world. PDP won at Taraba and lost at Abia through an own goal. All good

  • eclub

    “Delivering judgment in an appeal filed by Mr. Otti, the five-member panel, headed by Justice Oyebisi Omoleye, said the APGA candidate scored 164, 444 valid votes to defeat Mr. Ikpeazu who scored 114, 444 votes”. – C.A

    The funny thing is how the difference in numbers comes to exactly 50,000 votes, a clear indication of a cooked and crooked calculation. Somebody who hates math obviously used an easywhole number, rather than fractions to make it up as he went along.

    Nigeria is not in a civil dispensation. There’s no integrity in the rulings of the courts, the enforcement by the executive branch headed by Buhari, nor the oversight and laws made by the legislative. So, what to do? PDP over to you.

    • Maverick

      But it was clear PDP lost the election even though this verdict is purely partial.

  • Nkem

    I don’t understand. If the votes cast in a particular polling location exceed the number of registered voters, is it not the right thing to do to cancel the entire vote in that location? Why nullify the vote of one party and validate the other.
    I have been rooting for Otti to win this, but I would be happier for him to win fair and square.

    • Maverick

      Yes because it is the combined votes that resulted to over voting.

    • Man_Enough

      The panel discovered that there were 2 sets of results; the earlier results uploaded to INEC headquarters which corresponds with the correct valid registered voters in the three LGAs, and those awarded to the respondent which shows over voting and therefore null and void. The court threw out the awarded results and upheld the uploaded results.

  • bigbang

    Good news

  • Prince

    We from Abia/Aba/Ngwa know Otti very well…a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
    What happened to Diamond Bank money he used to campaign?
    And
    what about all the night meetings he’s been having with APC hierarchy
    in Abuja? Watch and see that he’ll become APC before June 2016.

    For
    anyone who cares to know, it’s IMPOSSIBLE for a non Ngwa man to win
    against an NGWA candidate of a popular party. Otti has been busy
    throwing money around…it wont work.

    Even in Ohafia (Otti’s LGA), Okezie beat Otti.
    Okezie is voted because he’s Ngwa and not because of PDP and there are 9 Ngwa LGAs out of the 17 in Abia.

    Ngwa
    being the majority, Aba the major city, Abia South being the oil
    producing zone of Abia State has never produced a governor until Okezie.
    So if there’s a rerun 20 times, Okezie will still win.

    Otti is a fraud who’s only known in Abuja news…come to Aba and ask about him before commenting.

    • Maverick

      I don’t think you’re right. I staunchly supported PDP but their failures in the past 16 years is still glaring. I’m sure the population of Abia lies mostly in Aba instead of heof numerous Ngwa LGAs with divided loyalties. Are you aware that non indigenes make up to 90% of Aba population?

      Abians obviously were no longer interested in PDP. They eagerly wanted a change of party in Abia govt house but not APC. It was more of surprised that PDP later won than that they lost. We all do not know how true the allegations again Otti is, but we needed a change.

      Truly, on my part I least expected this verdict.

  • Intrepid

    Up Otti! the positive change Abians need.

  • IZON Redeemer

    Nigeria is the only country in the world where these types of rubbish often take place very frequently—Methinks there is no need for some to even waste money in contesting an elections–All u have to do is just wait until after the elections then go bribe some court officials or judges and victory is yours—–Something urgent has to be done about this ongoing nonsense by election tribunal judges-making a mockery of the electoral process—Sadly certain unthinking Nigerians are celebrating these mad process-of stealing victory via the Buhari ati Tinubu courts—

    • Maverick

      It is proper to cancel or nullify elections if there is obvious malpractice. If that is ot done, the politicians will not relent in their illegal moves. Both the appellant and the respondent spent and planned heavily for the election only for one to steal the other’s mandate through godfatherism.

      I am not disputing the issue of using Federal might to wrest victory from the due owner at the tribunal.

      Though this verdict is least expected, it was a clear show of malpractice for PDP to have won Abia poll. We re all PDP supporters but they failed in Abia state. Akwa Ibom PDP did so well that they don’t need election malpractice to win people’s votes even though the election was later cancelled with the aforementioned Federal might in the judiciary.

    • Maverick

      It is proper to cancel or nullify elections if there is obvious malpractice. If that is not done, the politicians will not relent in their illegal moves. Both the appellant and the respondent spent and planned heavily for the election only for one to steal the other’s mandate through godfatherism.

      I am not disputing the issue of using Federal might to wrest victory from the due owner using the tribunal.

      Though this verdict is least expected, it was a clear show of malpractice for PDP to have won Abia poll after 16 years of disappointments. We ere all PDP supporters but they failed in Abia state. Akwa Ibom PDP did so well that they don’t need election malpractice to win people’s votes even though the election was later cancelled with the aforementioned Federal might in the judiciary.

      • Eldorado

        Akwa Ibom is APC . Since 2011. Does what you see on ground resemble N3trillion even remotely?

  • THE SOURCE

    Tinubu’s legacy to be established in Abia State. Bola Tinubu is creeping into Abia’s politics

    • Jujubeans

      Since when doed Tinibu have anything to do with APGA?

  • Eldorado

    Aba people who make up the voting majority in Abia had rejected PDP so it’s impossible for PDP / Ochendo to have won an election there.
    APGA WON

  • Oh!

    The Nigerian judicial system seems to have more power than the other two arms of Government combined (Legislative, executive). Fantastic………..now all we need to do is “police ” these motherfo’s!. We are not talking about some individual n some office….NO! Such an individual will quickly become corrupt. We are talking about security agencies tuning the investigative efforts to take account of public opinion.

    There is no smoke without fire and when the public start repeating the same corrupt practices about a judge, Investigators shoould immediately jump in.
    Up Biafra!

  • REDEEM

    Aware of the Evil minded Satanic political drones in APC which u call the Federal Might, are doing in their power to steal the victory of the people-several months after the Governor started working? This childish act should have even come up before he was sworn-in as governor–So RECs have no right to cancell fake votes again abi? —–Simply Jonathan allowed Buhari to steal his voctory at the polls with the aid of the CIA—- –Happily we did not witness this ongoing madness under the rule of Jonathan–Abia state is clearly going to APC via Tinubu–U wait and see-This is no democracy——-The system is too crude———-for my taste–Sadly it is happeing in Biafra of Nigeria–Very sickening. Again my concern here is about the politics of the belle that we play in Nigeria-The party in power wants to control the Judiciary with impunity——Now them year to measure even the food we eat and how we express our thoughts in public-Even Russia under Lenin did not witness such madnes not to talk of Communist countries like China-

    Glad that we hardly witness these types of rubbish in the developed economies of the world—This is pure madness and it got to stop——-I do not care who becomes governor of Abia state—–But the ongoing silly acts, seems to be making a mockery of the fake Buhari Fulani ati Yoruba Military Democracy. It is really depicting Nigerian as an unthinking nation before the eyes of the world—Yet the Apes in APC keep on shouting on top of their regionalé voices that the Nation is broke–Fresh elections are being palnned all over the place-Every dog knows Abia state now belong to Tinubu–Yet the Ibos who allowed him to take charge of their state-often claim to be independent minded people who unlike the Fulanis cannot ever be influenced from outside with Ego from the south west ati the Fulani north-what a shame–Could Kanu of the IPoB, have been correct all this while?

  • REDEEM

    Aware of the Evil minded Satanic political drones in APC which u call the Federal Might, are doing in their powers to steal the victory of the people-several months after the Governor started working? These childish acts should have even come up before he was sworn-in as governor–So RECs have no right to call off fake votes or elections again abi? —–Simply because Jonathan allowed Buhari to steal his victory at the polls with the aid of the CIA—- –Happily we did not witness such madness under the rule of Jonathan–Abia state is clearly going to APC via Tinubu–U wait and see-This is no democracy——-The system is too crude———-for my taste–Sadly it is happeing in the new Biafra of Nigeria–Very sickening. Again my concern here is about the politics of the belle that we play in Nigeria-The party in power wants to control the Judiciary with impunity——Now them year to measure even the food we eat and how we express our thoughts in public-against the draconian rule of Buhari- Even Russia under Lenin, did not witness such madnes not to talk of Communist China-

    Glad that we hardly witness these types of rubbish in the developed economies of the world—This is pure madness and it got to stop——-I do not care who becomes governor of Abia state—–But the ongoing silly acts, seems to be making a mockery of the fake Buhari Fulani ati Yoruba Military Democracy no autocracy. It is really depicting Nigerian as an unthinking nation before the eyes of the world—Yet the Apes in APC keep on shouting on top of their regional voices that, 9ja is broke–Fresh elections are being planned all over the place-Every dog knows Abia state, now belongs to Tinubu–Yet the Ibos who allowed him to take charge of their state-often claim to be independent minded people- who unlike the Fulanis cannot ever be influenced from outside with Ego-Kudi-ati Owo-from the south west ati the Fulani north-what a shame–Could Kanu of the IPoB, have been correct all this while?

  • Burning Spear

    Sadly instead of PDP working hard to protect what God has given to them in Abia state, they are begging Nigerians not to air their views against the evil acts of Buhari–Working day and night to protect APC-Rather than fashion out clear plans on how to wrestle power from the Apes in APC, they yearn to behave like Catholic priest in Rome– pls do not abuse Buhari ooooooh———————–even if he fails Nigerians–While Nigerians are being locked up in his Gulag as if they are homeless stray dogs——–animals

    • V-Rox

      MY PEOPLE, IS THIS THING TRUE; AND IF IT IS TRUE, WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT?

      • “A total allocation of N2.2billion to the President Muhammadu Buhari (N1.75billion)
      and to his deputy for feeding, is the highest of similar allocation to any leader in
      the world. The figure is N710m higher than what was budgeted for the same
      purpose under former President Goodluck Jonathan”.

  • Papa Oghworiodo (Warri)

    MY CHILDREN,

    Happy new year to all of you. May the little that remains of your future not be stolen again by government.
    I am saying this prayer because I am doubting if you have any future after I read the other thief-thief story.
    Downstairs on the right hand, I read there that Raji Fashola took 800 billion Naira away from ledger account.
    That means EFCC must be preparing his case now because the 800 billion Naira is not his father’s money.

    This particular story about katakata in Abia state I don’t know it since I am not Igbo and Abia is from me here.
    All I can say about Igbo people now is to thank them in Abia that they are not bringing out cutlass to settle the issue.
    God will bless them for that one. I also want to thank the Igbo people for exposing that Raji Fashola in Lagos state.
    It was a holy man of God in Lagos there, Ben Akhabueze, who gave the correct revenue figure to expose things.
    After Ben Akhabueze allowed holy spirit to let him tell the truth, Raji Fashola account is showing 800b Naira missing.

    • dadus

      Papa, happy new year to you sir. There’s no future for Nigerians.
      Forget it. The 800billion Raji Fashola took and hid away for his own family and
      friends is = to the total oil revenue for all the 180 million Nigerians
      expected from crude oil export this year. That is the amount one man took away.
      This stealing issue in Nigeria has gone past discussion. It must be sorted out
      physically. The only future I can foresee for Nigeria will be bloody. The youths are arming themselves ready for
      D-Day. Pistols, revolvers and rifles are freely circulated in Lagos state nowadays. Whole families will be wiped
      out. This is no longer a case of stealing. It is now a case of murder. The
      intention to kill the people of Nigeria.

    • Oshaire

      Parley, you are very correct. Na how person go get fushure when a 76yr old man is the captain of the ship. In 10-15 yrs the captain will most likely not be around anymore. In actual fact, he doesn’t care what happens to you and I who still have 50yrs + on this planet. This is why real countries elect the youth, a stakeholder who has something to lose. Buhari has nothing to lose. Nothing. Nothing in terms of resources he or his people contribute to Nigeria, and nothing in terms of the possibility of suffering from the consequences of his bad decisions today. This is because he knows he is already far into the departure lounge.

      When you elect an under 40 or 50, he will think of not only his fushure but the fushure of his kids who are either under-10 or under-20s. Parley no be so?

  • Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan

    The logic is simple. If there is no APC candidate in a state, the courts/tribunals should give verdict in favour of the opponent. This is in line with the Chinese proverb: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”

    • Burning spear

      Nigerian democracy as practised by the fulanis ati yorubas—–ati the neo biafrans-it stinks