Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) –
The Court of Appeal, sitting in Owerri has sacked Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), winner of the April 11 Abia state governorship election and the April 25 supplementary election respectively.
The five-member panel of the Court of Appeal, headed by Justice Oyebisi Omoleye, delivered judgement on the election petition on Thursday, December 31, 2015 and declared Alex Otti of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) as the winner of the election, ordering his immediate swearing-in.
The APGA candidate scored 164,444 valid votes to defeat Ikpeazu of the PDP, who secured 114,444 votes.
The justice said the cancellation of the elections held in three local govenment areas, Obingwa, Osisioma Ngwa and Isiala Ngwa, was unlawful. The returning officer has the right to only declare the results, but not to cancel the election.
Omoleye had previously struck out the preliminary objections by Ikpeazu’s (PDP) counsel to the effect that the appeal lacked merit. The court also affirmed the arguments of APGA’s counsel that the members of the panel were wrongfully constituted.
The justice noted that there was no need for a re-run, as the results of the polls show Otti is the genuine winner of the exercise, without any doubt.
The court therefore directed the Independent National Electoral Commission to issue a certificate of return to Otti and conduct the swearing-in.
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