THE STREETS of Abia, the
God’s Own State erupted in
jubilation Monday afternoon
as the people celebrated the
well-deserved victory of
their governor, Dr. Okezie
Ikpeazu at the Governorship
Election Petitions Tribunal
sitting in Umuahia, the state
capital.
Dr. Alex Otti, the
governorship candidate of
the All Progressives Grand
Alliance, APGA’s petition
was earlier in the day struck
out at the tribunal for lacking
merit and inability of the
APGA witnesses to establish
their claim of irregularities.
Chairman of the tribunal,
Usman Bwala, said that the
petitioners, Alex Otti and
the All Progressives Grand
Alliance (APGA), did not
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.
“Abia first” is Dr. Alex Otti’s
campaign mantra which
seemingly portrays him as
having the interest of Abians
at heart. Now, the time is ripe
to test him whether he would
dramatise this mantra and
match what he preaches with
action.
Ikpeazu’s victory has been
trailed with barrage of advice,
from well- meaning Abians
and groups, to Otti to do the
needful by jettisoning any
ambition of proceeding to
the appellate court. The first
to fire the salvo was South
East Progressives Assembly
(SEPA).
The group in a statement
entitled “Why Otti Should Not
Appeal Against Abia Tribunal
Judgment” and signed by its
President, Ebere Uzoukwa,
urged Otti to shun the idea of
appealing against the ruling
and dramatize his campaign
mantra which says ‘Abia First’
“at this very crucial moment
by joining hands with his
brother to rediscover the state
in terms development”.
“The South East Progressives
Assembly (SEPA) wishes to
rejoice with the good people of
Abia State and their Governor,
Okezie Victor Ikpeazu PhD on
their well deserved victory at
the Election Petition Tribunal
which upheld the election of
the governor on Wednesday
November 3, 2015.
“The judicial ratification and
endorsement of Dr. Ikpeazu’s
election as Governor of Abia
State under the platform of
the Peoples Democratic Party
(PDP) has become yet another
clear testimony that the
election of the Obingwa-born
scholar is mostly divine and
apt at this very crucial moment
in the history of our nation.
“Having showcased
uncommon commitment and
utmost desire to propel speedy
socio-economic development
of Abia state within a very
short period of time by
carefully marshaling out
people-oriented policies and
programmes, SEPA as a social
organization and a political
watch-dog in the south east
remains convinced that Dr.
Ikpeazu has substantially the
needed qualities and capacity
to rediscover Abia in terms of
development.
“We therefore enjoin the
governorship candidate of
the All Progressives Grand
Alliance (APGA), Dr. Alex Otti,
to dramatize his campaign
mantra which says ‘Abia First’
by not appealing against the
judgment.
“SEPA at this critical
moment expects the APGA
governorship candidate to
think ‘Abia first’ by joining
hands with his brother Dr.
Ikpeazu and Abia people
to move the state to higher
heights. Prolonging the legal
battle such as appealing
against the ruling of the Abia
Governorship Election Petition
Tribunal , which has the
potency of further distracting
the governor and his team,
will neither portray Dr. Otti as
a true son of Abia nor someone
that truly thinks ‘Abia first’.
“In the spirit of no victor
no vanquished, SEPA also
admonishes the governor to
extend hands of fellowship
to his closest rival Dr. Otti
and other members of the
opposition to prove his
magnanimity in victory”.
A foremost traditional ruler
and chairman Umuahia South
Council of Traditional Rulers,
Eze Godfrey C. Onwuka wants
Otti to borrow a leaf from the
former President Jonathan
who accepted the presidential
election results in order to give
peace a chance.
“I thank God for the verdict.
We usually say that the law
court is the last hope of the
common man and the ruling
today has reflected the voting
pattern. I congratulate the
governor for his winning
at the tribunal. In every
election, there must be a
winner and if we keep on
going to court, it means we
do not love Abia State. Let
us cue from what former
President Jonathan did. He
accepted the presidential
election result and that
moved Nigeria to another
step. So if we all should
accept the tribunal ruling,
it will move Abia State to
the next level of growth and
development”. Eze Onwuka
wants Otti to congratulate
Ikpeazu and look for ways of
moving the state forward.
Will Otti do the needful
by heeding to these voices
of wisdom? Will he toe the
path of honour and heed to
the advice of the mainstream
APGA in the state by
accepting defeat, observing
a break, putting himself
together, and forge ahead
with life.
Indeed, there is no victor,
no vanquished in Abia but
a collective ambition to
reclaim the state. Otti should
not hesitate in embracing
the clarion call of Governor
Ikpeazu for “all aggrieved
parties to show sense of
patriotism by joining hands
with him to develop the
state”. The voice of the
people, they say is the voice
of God.
saying he is being accused but not
yet found guilty by a competent
court of law.
He commended President
Muhammad Buhari for not
interfering in the election of the
National Assembly leadership,
especially the red chambers
that produced Senate President
from the majority, while Deputy
Senate President from the
minority.


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