Supreme Court upholds Okezie Ikpeazu’s election as Abia governor

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu

The Supreme Court has upheld the election of Okezie Ikpeazu of the Peoples Democratic Party as governor of Abia State.

The court gave the ruling validating the April 11 governorship election on Wednesday night but did not provide reasons for its judgment.

The court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeal, which nullified Mr. Ikpeazu’s election on December 31, 2015.

The Supreme Court ruled that Mr. Ikpeazu of the PDP won the lawfully cast votes in the April 11, 2015 election.

Full details of the ruling would be provided on a February 26, the court said.

Background

The Court of Appeal, sitting in Owerri, had on December 31 removed Mr. Ikpeazu as governor of the South-east 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 Mr. 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.


DOWNLOAD THE PREMIUM TIMES MOBILE APP

Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

TEXT AD:Dr Dan,Suggest 5 Ways to Satisfy Your system and Last up 25Min In Bed When Having Sex, Click Here...


All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.


  • Maria

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah! Mr Buhari…. This supreme court is in the hands of the criminals….shame on these useless supreme court judges…Nigeria…shame on you.

    • Otile

      Smelly cunt, do you want Duncee to impose his corrupt APC minion on the good people of Abia state? Oluwa ma je.

      • Maria

        APC did not even contest it….the contest is between PDP and APGA…So, if you are not a goat you should know this simple truth…efulefu.

        • Otile

          Smelly cunt, Islamic APC does not have to contest to win Imam Doncee’s election, and you know it. Smelly one, how do you know about efulefu? Na wa for you o.

          • Africa

            Did you say your wife’ cunt is smelly? I bet you love it so…..

          • Otile

            Is Smelly cunt your wife? Tell her to shut up lest hatred will consume her.

        • FormerNigerian

          Everyone suspects Otti to be an APC wannabe. Although he pretended to be APGA he’s been meeting with APC. He gets voted in then defects. Same trick Rochas pulled in Imo.

    • Akatikpo

      This is democracy at work. It is alien to your god Buhari. It is still a learning curve for him after declaring himself a born again democrat.

    • Okafor

      Person wey go court no be him dey win case. The Supreme Court justices know their onions. APC, this is just the beginning, more to come.

      • Maria

        Ok….when you start weeping, I will remind you.

      • shakara

        Person wey mouth big pass him brain go talk rubbish

    • MilitaryPolice01

      in the hands of criminals ? why?because PDP won ? did you actually read how they arrived at their decision or do you think they just awarded ruling by stroke of pen? you are laughing hahahahahaha but very soon it will be huhuhuhuhuhuhu lol … you people should know whether apc or pdp or apga they are all the same thing,they dont care for Nigerians,they are only out for their pockets, fame and prestige..by next year things will be clearer

  • Ahmed Liasu

    No one should be surprised, check penalyis out. It’s an informative website.h

  • √๏и๏

    Good job, SC.

  • Kings

    Only God can redeem our Nation from this mess we find ourselves. The judiciary should be purged of craps. Any well meaning Nigerian can recall when the Supreme Court were made up of eminent jurists, when there were split decisions like the case of Jim Nwobodo and C.C Onoh etc. These days what are we seeing? Unanimous decision, midnight sitting etc. When are we going to have Judges with the likes of Ayo Irikefe, Sodeinde Sowemimo, Chukwudifu Oputa, Kayode Esho,etc?

    • Fairgame

      Really? APC and their throat for violence… If the court handed over those states to APC then the judiciary is wonderful but because APC lost in the courts then the judiciary is terrible. Hypocrites. The presidential election that underage voters voted for Buhari what do you call that? You APC people will never succeed in your quest to set Nigeria on fire.

      • Babso

        Is Alex Otti a member of APC or you are just ignoramus fellow? What has Buhari got to do with this judgement? If the judgement is to be reversed, there will huge cry that Buhari is the one influencing it. Can you people be ever satisfy of any situation?

        • FormerNigerian

          Alex Otti is linked with APC. Like Rochas he wanted to use APGA to trick his way to power, then defect. Abians like myself all love APGA and can’t stand PDP, but we couldn’t understand why Otti attended an APC caucus meeting few days before the supplementary elections. He was spotted there, he’s been asked several times about it, and he’s yet to deny his attendance. Would you as a candidate for a party attend another party’s caucus meeting a few days before an election? I doubt you would do that. This is why the APGA vote collapsed. APGA voters simply stayed at home and of course, PDP did their usual, and rigged. The few votes PDP claims in SE zone were all rigged. At the next election, the real political situation in SE zone would be obvious. We’ll be voting for whichever party offers a referendum on independence.

          • Babso

            Matured response! Respect.

  • Kaycee

    @187665873247990:disqus

    Once the Supreme Court has decided two previous governorship election lawsuits of Rivers and Delta states,
    all cases filed on the basis of discrepancy between the card reader machine accreditation and actual votes will
    be dismissed on the footing that the card reader is not provided for under the Electoral Act (2010) as amended;
    or, stated in the 1999 Constitution (as amended) as a recognized basis in law to challenge an election as void.

    • newsvendor

      Another King is kidnapped……..

      “OWERRI— Palpable fear has gripped the family of the traditional ruler of
      Nguru Nwe-Afor Ajala, Eze Oswald Anyanwu, following his kidnap by unknown
      persons. One of the stories weaved around the kidnap had it that the royal
      father, who lives in New Owerri, was on his way to pick his wife from one
      of the hair dressing salons in the area when the hoodlums struck. It was also

      gathered that the dare devil gangsters shot at his vehicle tyre.”

      ………VANGUARD

  • 9ja deserves better dan Buhari

    Buhari’s public umbrage against the judiciary is a clear and open attempt to intimidate a vital arm of government. For if the judiciary fails, hope is lost for the survival of a democratic system of government that by definition is based on the rule of law. The attendant damage to the nation is too grave to contemplate. Indeed, this is the reason that, when all efforts to resolve a dispute in the polity have been exhausted, the judiciary has the final – some would say oracular – word as pronounced by ‘an independent and virtuous judiciary.’ In this connection, it is worthy to recall the late Justice Anthony Aniagolu’s counsel to members of the Bench to dispense justice with courage and integrity because ‘you …most directly represent God on earth because God is justice and so, by delivering justice on the people, you are sitting on [God’s] throne.’ In January 2012, the then CJN, Justice Dahiru Musdapher begged members of the Bench ‘in the name of justice [to decide cases] on their merits and not on technicalities.’ This Jugdement by the SC, is a clear victory over the LUCIFERIC THOUGHTS of the Apes in Apc-led by Alhaji General Doctor-nee Mohamed no Mohammadu Vampire Buhari against the God fearing people of Nigeria-what a shame –what a sweet victory! Inspite of refusing to congratulate Ijaw man Dickson-in Bayelsa state–we say 3 happy cheers to the Judiciary and the Governors of Akwa Ibom–Rivers, Abia and Bayelsa–state respectively-

    • Arabakpura

      Exactly, but now elections will become a do or die affair in the hope that the Supreme Court will affirm the outcome! I think it’s better to allow only the Supreme Court to adjudicate on governorship election matters; that way, time, energy, money and emotions will be saved!

  • favourtalk

    I think PMB need to hurry much again since this judiciary he feared most with corruption are encouraging rigging and all sort of irregularities in the land. We need a better nation and the system needs to be revamp on time.

    • Fairgame

      Hypocrite like you. So Buhari who was elected by the power of underage voters is the only one whose election is valid? Lying liars. Buhari must learn what a democracy is and his dreams of being a dictator have long died. Better wake up and smell the coffee. Buhari is free to drive reforms of the judiciary but if you think he will bastatardise the institutions that make a democracy and succeed you are are then seriously demented.

  • Gidi

    I don’t understand the logic behind Supreme Court Ruling. What is the point of giving a verdict without providing explanation? What is the legal underpinnings that guide Supreme Court decision? What is the rush to give a verdict when you cannot provide a substantive explanation to back up the decision at the same time? Why defer the reason to later date? Something is not right. At least, the public need know the rai·son d’ê·tre why a decision was reached without making us wait for another 3 weeks.

    The whole charade smells of corruption. The media need not do Supreme Court bidding anymore. There is no where in the world where supreme court will issue a verdict without providing the reason the same day. I don’t like comparing us to the west because they are more civilized than us in all things. In this case, however, it make sense to look at the standard set by their supreme court in so many contentious cases. For example, the US Supreme Court does not give a verdict while deferring reason for reaching such conclusion to a later date. The Justice must provide to the public in writing how they reach their verdict and the legal underpinning driving such decision.

    Supreme court action matters– see Stare Decisis principle in common law. It set precedent for future cases and if the so called Justices cannot take their time to get things right, we are all doomed as a nation. I have argued many times that we need a holistic judicial reform. Corruption thrives in Nigeria because the Judiciary aids and abet the fraudulent scheme. There is nothing that will destroy the republic faster than a corrupt judiciary that pervert the cause of justice.

    I don’t care if PDP retain all the governorship election in SS or SE. All i care about is to do things the right way.