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Otti, Ahaiwe, Emenike Await Fate Today in Abia Governorship Election Tribunal

Otti, Ahaiwe, Emenike Await Fate Today in Abia Governorship Election Tribunal 

By Adeke Chukwuka

The governorship election petition tribunal in Umuahia, Abia State, is set to announce its verdict on the petitions filed against Governor Alex Otti today.

These petitions were brought forth by Ikechi Emenike of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Okey Ahaiwe of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Ikechi Emenike, the APC gubernatorial candidate, has petitioned the court, represented by lead counsel Tochukwu Maduka, SAN.

Emenike seeks to remove Governor Otti from office, claiming Otti didn’t resign from the APC before joining the LP in 2022. Emenike also alleged Otti’s name wasn’t in the LP register when he was nominated as their 2023 gubernatorial candidate.

In the lawsuit, Ikechi Emenike named Okey Ahaiwe of the PDP, Enyinnaya Nwafor of the YPP, and INEC as respondents. Ahaiwe, who came in second in the March 18 polls, is contesting Governor Otti’s victory. He urges the court to remove Otti and declare him the true winner. Ahaiwe’s lead counsel, Paul Ananaba, SAN, presented his case, appealing to the tribunal to consider the evidence and arguments presented.

A PDP witness, Samuel Oduntan, testified before the tribunal before the adoption of written addresses. Governor Otti’s Counsel, A.J. Owonikoko, urged the tribunal to dismiss all suits against Otti. Owonikoko argued that Oduntan was incompetent to appear before the tribunal.

Governor Otti’s Counsel, the SAN, urged the tribunal to confirm Otti’s victory. Heated statements from various groups in Abia State have filled the information space, intensifying since last week. Supporters of the involved parties have engaged in a media war over these statements.

The state government denied sponsoring the Labour Party’s candidate’s court case against President Tinubu’s victory and denied supporting IPOB for causing insecurity. The government accused the parties challenging Otti’s victory of backing the group making these allegations. The PDP in the state denied threatening tribunal members or supporting any group.

INEC declared Alex Otti of the LP as Abia’s governor with 175,467 votes, followed by Okey Ahaiwe of the PDP with 88,527 votes, and Enyinnaya Nwafor of the YPP with 28,972 votes.

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