Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Appeal Court: Don’t Reinforce Failure In Abia North, Cleric Warns Wike

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Abia born cleric, Reverend Kalu Ukpai Ota has cautioned the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike not to reinforce failure by manipulating judges of the Appeal Court to “smuggle the ineffective and incompetent Mao Ohuabunwa back to the Senate”.

He also warned the former Rivers State Governor never to be deceived by the former lawmaker, who according to him failed in his polling unit, ward, and council area.

According to Rev Ota, manipulating judges in favour of Ohuabunwa would be a disservice to the people of Abia North Senatorial District.

Ota, while reacting to a statement by a chieftain of the Labour Party ( LP) from Abia State, Elder Cosmos Okorie, who accused the minister of working with judges to deliver Abia to PDP, said: “Wike’s action if true is capable of setting the state ablaze.”

“I am an ordained minister of a renowned church, and it is my duty to always say the truth at all times. Manipulating Appeal Court judges in favour of Mao Ohuabunwa won’t be acceptable here. We won’t allow Wike to reinforce failure in our Senatorial District. Mao Ohuabunwa was totally rejected even in his own community.

“So, if his people rejected him, and the entire Senatorial District, it would be a disservice to our people reinforcing him.

“We are happy with what Senator Orji Uzor Kalu is doing across the five local government areas. You can see the level of development in Abia North since he was elected. He has constructed the road in my community, gave our solar streetlights, built health centres and renovated schools. Therefore, we won’t accept unnecessary interference from an outsider,” he said.

Recall that the National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia had upheld the victory of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu representing Abia North Senatorial zone in the February 25, 2023 polls.

A three man panel led by Justice Samson Paul-Gang in its unanimous ruling on Tuesday, September 12, dismissed the petition of Peoples Democratic Party’s Mao Ohuabunwa and Labour Party’s Nnamdi Iro Orji for lacking merit.

The court, while upholding the victory of Kalu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said that the election of the former Senate Chief Whip compiled with the provisions of the Electoral Act.

The tribunal judges also faulted the arguments of both petitioners that election did not hold in over 120 polling units mainly in Ohafia and Arochukwu Local Government Areas of the zone.

Nnamdi Iro and Ohuabunwa who came second and third respectively, Labour Party, in separate suits had asked the court to overturn the election of the former Abia Governor as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, alleging irregularities.

Also thrown out out was the petition of the PDP and LP was the argument that the total number of registered voters in the said affected polling units was far above the margin of win between Kalu and the first and second runners-up.

The court also validated Kalu’s eligibility to contest the election stating that his trial and conviction was quashed by the supreme court.

Two other matters filed by the LP challenging Kalu’s election were also interpreted and laid to rest by the Tribunal judges and thus declared Kalu the duly elected Senator of Abia North.

Kalu, a Chieftain of the APC was declared winner by the INEC returning Officer for Abia North, Mr Chinedu Nnamdi at Ohafia.

Kalu, a two time lawmaker who currently chairs Senate committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation was declared winner by INEC of the February 25, 2023 Senatorial polls having scored 30,805 votes to defeat Nnamdi who got 27,540 votes.

While Kalu’s other opponent, Ohuabunwa of the PDP scored 15,175 votes to place third.

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