The Governorship election petitions tribunal sitting in Abia state has also dismissed the petition brought before it by Chief Ikechi Emenike and the All Progressives Congress against Governor Alex Otti and six other respondents.
The other respondents are INEC who are the first respondent, Labour Party who are the second respondent, Peoples Democratic Party, the fourth respondent, Chief Okey Ahaiwe, the fifth, Young Progressives Party, the sixth respondent and Mr. Chima Nwafor, the seventh respondent.
Delivering judgement on the petition, a member of the panel, Justice Omolara Adeyemi, disagreed with the petitioners that the petitioners that the 3rd, 5th and 7th respondents were not qualified to contest the 2023 polls, stressing that membership of a political party and candidacy were internal affairs of a party which the tribunal does not have jurisdiction over.
It insisted that since the first petitioner was not a member of the second, fourth and sixth respondents, he did not have the legal right to question their candidacy as only members of a party who had contested a position and were dissatisfied could do so.
It also noted that the petitioners abandoned their allocation of non-compliance with the provisions of the electoral act by not calling any evidence with respect to any of the polling units it complained about where over voting took place to prove their allegation against INEC.
In an interview, one of the counsel to the petitioners, Mr Fabian Okonkwo said they will appeal the decision, while counsel to Governor Alex Otti, Mr. Abiodun Owonikoko, SAN, expressed happiness with the decision noting that the Governor can now concentrate fully on the task of developing the state.
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