Appeal Court okays Okorocha’s, Kalu’s, Ayade’s victories

By Damian Duruiheoma, Owerri, Sanni Onogu, Abuja and Kelvin Osa Okunbor

 

The Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri, the Imo State capital, on Thursday upheld the electoral victories of Senators Rochas Okorocha and Orji Uzor Kalu, former governors of Imo and Abia states.

Okorocha is representing Imo West while Kalu is representing Abia North in the Senate.

The court also upheld the election of the member representing Imo North Senatorial District, Benjamin Uwajumogu.

Also, the Appeal Court sitting in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, yesterday upheld the election of Governor Ben Ayade.

Panel Chairman of the Appeal Court in Owerri, Justice R. A. Ada, read the verdict which upheld the trio’s election victories.

He said the appeals filed by Senator Osita Izunaso of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Jones Onyereri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against Okorocha lacked merit.

The chairman contended that the judgment of the lower court (tribunal), which upheld Okorocha’s election was in order.

He said the petitioners could not prove their allegations of violence, over-voting, mutilation of electoral results and hijacking of electoral officers.

Read Also: Okorocha dedicates Appeal Court victory to opponents, Imo people

According to him, the petitioners could not prove the allegation of duress, as the Returning Officer had alleged.

On the case against Kalu, the Appeal Court ruled that his mandate remains intact.

In a unanimous decision, the appellate court upheld the election of the former Abia State governor, saying the lower tribunal erred on several counts.

Delivering judgment, Justice R. A. Ada held that the grounds upon which the lower tribunal predicated its reliefs to the petitioner were not tenable in law.

He said the lower tribunal granted the petitioner reliefs they did not ask for, which was unacceptable in law.

Okorocha dedicated his victory to his opponents in the 2019 National Assembly election in the state.

The senator, who issued a statement through his Media Adviser, Sam Onwuemeodo, said his victory was for Jones Onyeriri and Senator Osita Izunaso, who he described as his brothers.

The duo were candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and APGA in Imo West Senatorial District election.

They had challenged Okorocha’s victory up to the Appeal Court.

He also said it was for the people of Imo West and other residents of Imo State who he said supported him to get the election victory.

The Appeal Court affirmed Ayade’s victory in the March 9, 2019 governorship poll.

The ruling was based on the unanimous decision of the five-man panel of the appellate court.

The panel dismissed the petition of the factional candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Minister for Niger Delta, Usani Usani, and upheld the judgment of the lower tribunal, which ruled that Usani’s petition lacked merit.

The court described the petition as a gross abuse of court processes, academic, hypothetical and frivolous.

Reacting to the verdict through his Special Adviser (SA) on Media and Publicity, Christian Ita, the governor said the victory was an affirmation of the mandate overwhelmingly given to him by the people of Cross River State.

He dedicated the victory to God and the people of the state.

©2018 VivaLasGidi

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