Criticisms have continued to trail the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Owerri Division, which set aside the election of Dr Okezie Ikeazu as governor of Abia State and declared Alex Otti of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, winner of the election.
Activist and Senior Advocate of Nigerian, Chief Mike Ozekhome said the judgment was fundamentally wrong and full of errors.
Ozekhome, who spoke yesterday at a Channels TV Breakfast Programme ‘Sunrise Daily’ said the court was wrong in nullifying Ikpeazu’s election and declaring Otti as the winner of the election and noted that the court erred in law in admitting in evidence a card reader report from a witness who was not the maker of the document.
He also wondered how the Court of Appeal could give credence to the evidence of the APGA star witness, Mr. Ahamdi Nweke, who was only a Collation Centre Agent and could not have been at the polling units where elections were alleged not to have held.
He said that given the case before the court, it was wrong for the justices to have declared Otti as the winner of the elections and ordered his swearing-in.
Ozekhome said that going by the calculations of the Appeal Court, the difference between the votes allocated to Otti and Ikpeazu were 48,000, while the total number of registered voters in the three local government areas of Obingwa, Osisioma and Isialangwa North where the court cancelled the elections were in excess of 250,000 and as such, going by the provisions of the Electoral Act, the court should ordered re-run in the affected local government areas.
He equally faulted the Court of Appeal for relying only on the Card Reader to determine the issue of over-voting even when the Independent National Electoral Commission’s guidelines allowed manual accreditation where card readers failed.
Ozekhome however expressed confidence that the Supreme Court would not allow the Appeal Court judgment in the interest of equity, justice and fairness.
Similarly, a Group under the aegis of Coalition of INEC Accredited Domestic Election Observers comprising of organisations that monitored the April 2015 governorship election in Abia State, has faulted the judgment.
The group, which included African Initiative for Sustainable and Positive Development, Global Development Centre for Rescue Mission in Nigeria, Justice and Equity Organization, Women Making Difference Initiative, Strength of Nigeria Women In Democracy, Legislative People Oriented Support Initiative, among other alleged that the ruling was premeditated.
‘We, the Coalition of INEC accredited election observer groups for Nigeria 2015 general elections view with great shock and dismay the recent Appeal Court judgment which awarded the electoral victory to the APGA gubernatorial candidate for the Abia State,” a statement it released said.
Also yesterday Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, AYCF, condemned the judgment describing it as dangerous and unconscionable miscarriage of justice.
AYCF in a statement signed by its President, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that the sanctity of the judiciary was not eroded under his administration.
AYCF said, “It is heartbreaking and unjustifiable what was done by the Appeal Court Judges that delivered and rendered such a dangerous and unconscionable miscarriage of justice.
“Of concern to us is the manner whereby the largest majority of citizens of the state comprising 300,000 voters including the governor himself were disenfranchised and denied their constitutional rights to free and fair elections in their own state of Abia.”

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  • nnanque

    What is most disturbing in this whole report is the intervention of Arewa Consutative Forum in this matter.Does this mean that Ikpeazu is their candidate or stooge imposed on the people of Abia through the brazen electoral malpractice to perpetuate the exploitation and underdevelopment of that state. Can the Ohaneze ever intervene in any judicial decision involving any state in the North?