The Appeal Court in Owerri, the Imo State capital has affirmed Oji Uzor Kalu’s victory in the February 23 election senatorial election in Abia North.
Chairman of the panel, Justice Stephen Adah, who read a unanimous decision, flayed the lower court (election tribunal) for ordering a rerun in some electoral wards in Abia North.
The jurist said that the premise on which the Election Petitions Tribunal cancelled Orji’s victory was unknown to law. He contended that the lower court granted the petitioner reliefs it did not seek, saying, “it was unacceptable in law.”
Reacting to his victory Kalu said, “With the verdict of the Court of Appeal, it is clear that justice can be delayed but not denied.”
A statement by his media office said Kalu had been vindicated by the judgement of the appellate court which laid to rest efforts against his victory in the election.
Kalu also called on Senator Mao Ohuabunwa of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other politicians in Abia state to join hands with him in driving development across the state.
Kalu, who is the Senate Chief Whip cautioned his supporters, associates and party faithful to be wary of their utterances and actions.
He thanked the members of the panel for maintaining their integrity for the sake of Nigeria’s nascent democracy, noting that the rule of law must be upheld and respected at all times.
“As we rejoice today, following the affirmation of the victory of our party, APC in the February 23, 2019 National Assembly election in Abia North Senatorial District, I urge our party members, loyalists, supporters and other stakeholders not to engage in any verbal and physical attack with our opponents.
“We have been vindicated by the appellate court and we shall continue to sustain our exemplary qualities, which are anchored on the ideals of the APC,” the statement said.
Justice Adah while delivering judgement on Thursday had said that the petitioner, Mao Ohuabunwa tendered his documents at the lower tribunal without calling witnesses to tie the documents to their case.
He said “The lower court erred by allowing the dumping of documents on the lower tribunal. In law, the petitioner must establish proof by bringing witnesses who will tie the documents to the substance of the case.”
One of the counsels to Kalu, Mr. Perfect Okorie told journalists that “The relief the petitioner Mao Ohuabunwa asked for was for the nullification of the election in Bende and Isiukwuato, LGAs but the lower tribunal embarked on its own expedition, granted strange reliefs and nullified elections in some polling units in Ohafia and Arochukwu.”
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