ABIA, Nigeria – Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, the Governor of Abia State has reacted to the verdict of the Owerri division of the Court of Appeal which reaffirmed his victory as the duly elected Governor of the state in the last March 9 2019 gubernatorial election conducted in Abia.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri, the Imo state capital, headed by Justice R.A Adah, Saturday, struck out the appeal filed by the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate in the 2019 governorship election in Abia State, Alex Otti, and validated Governor Ikpeazu’s victory.
A three-man panel of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia, the Abia state capital, chaired by Justice A.L. Ogumoye, had also earlier dismissed the petition filed by 2019 APGA gubernatorial candidate.
The tribunal ruled that the petitioner failed to prove the case of over voting, non compliance to the INEC election guideline and electoral act.
Alex Otti had prayed the tribunal to cancel fifteen out of the seventeen local government areas election results in Abia State.
Otti claimed that the respondents, PDP, and Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, who was the governorship candidate of PDP, perpetrated excessive malpractice in those LGAs.
Not satisfied with the tribunal judgment which threw out his petition, Otti approached the appellate court asking it to quash the tribunal ruling and uphold the reliefs he (Otti) sought in court.
Governor Ikpeazu while reacting in a statement made available to newsmen by his Chief Press Secretary, Onyebuchi Ememanka, and obtained by DAILY POST on Saturday night, described his victory at the Court of Appeal as clear reaffirmation of the mandate given to him and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by the people of Abia State.
Part of the statement read, “Recalling his tortuous judicial journey in defense of his mandate since 2015, Ikpeazu stated that had it not been for the grace of God, he wouldn’t have remained Governor till date and thanked the people of Abia State for remaining steadfast in their belief in the capacity of his administration to improve their lot.
“The Governor specially thanked his legal team led by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN for their industry and hard work while appreciating the learned Justices of the Court of Appeal for standing strong on the side of the rule of law and constitutionalism. The unanimity of the three man panel with no dissenting voices, Ikpeazu noted further, lends further credence to the fact that he holds a mandate that is legally impregnable.
“Governor Ikpeazu renews his counsel to his opponent to toe the path of political maturity, respect the popular will of the people of Abia State and join hands with him to move the state forward instead of engaging in fruitless litigations, assuring him that his doors are wide open to all citizens of the state who are willing to pursue the path of genuine cooperation.
“Finally, the Governor assures the good people of Abia State that he remains focused on delivering good governance to our people with emphasis on laying strong foundations for a prosperous future built on proper planning and careful implementation of policies”.