Law News
A’court stole my votes, cheated Abia people – Ikpeazu

The Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, on Sunday faulted the Appeal Court ruling which held that Mr. Alex Otti of the All Progressive Grand Alliance was the duly elected governor.

The appeal court had upheld the initial cancellation of the election in Obingwa, Osisioma and Isiala Ngwa-North local government areas of the state due to irregularities and declared Otti the winner.

However, Ikpeazu, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Godwin Adindu, said the appellate court’s ruling was unfair.

The governor, who is from Obingwa LGA, wondered why election in his area of strength was cancelled, thereby giving Otti the opportunity of an ‘easy win.’ He noted that Obingwa was the local government with the highest number of voters in the state.

Ikpeazu added that there was no way Otti would have been able to win the election in the three affected LGAs because his party, APGA, had no legislative candidates in the LGAs.

He said, “This is the first time a governor is being disenfranchised together with his siblings, cousins, relatives, his village and community. Governor Ikpeazu is being denied his own vote, the vote of his wife and children; the vote of his siblings, cousins and relatives. He is being denied the vote of his state and federal constituencies even when his opponent did not field any candidate in these areas.

“It is clear that the Abia scenario is a pre-meditated plot against the votes and aspiration of the people of the three local government areas that were generally criminalised and penalised by the appellate court.

“It is a contradiction that the same Owerri Appeal Court has affirmed the results in the state constituencies in these three local councils, where the same voting papers, ink, ballot boxes and other materials were used for the election with the governorship election, which held on the same day and where the same human elements voted.”

The governor expressed faith in the Supreme Court to reverse the ruling of the appeal court.

He said ‘over-voting’ must be determined at each polling unit of a local government before a court could cancel election in an entire local government.

He added, “If there was a case of ‘over-voting’ in booth 1, there cannot not be ‘over-voting’ in booth 2. If there was ‘over-voting’ in Ward A, there may not be ‘over-voting’ in Ward B. Therefore, it is illogical to penalise the entire three local government areas made up of about 40 wards.

“It smacks of total political annihilation of Ngwa people who constitute the largest ethnic nationality in Abia State to disenfranchise three LGAs of Ngwa extraction with a registered voter population of over 300,000 persons.

“It is illogical that an area of strength of a candidate will be completely expunged in determining the outcome of that exercise.

“It is unthinkable that the appeal court will cancel election in the three LGAs, which are the strongholds of Ikpeazu and declare Otti winner with results from 14 LGAs, out of the state’s 17 LGAs.”

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