Fundamental Issues That Await Abia State Governorship Election Petition Tribunals | #NwokeukwuMascot

 Opinion 

October 6th, 2023, Fundamental Issues That Await Abia State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.

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By Sir Don Ubani, Asa.

It is to the knowledge of Centre For Equity And Eradication Of Rural Poverty that the 3-Man Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting at Umuahia in Abia State is made up of two female Jurists and one male Jurist of impeccable integrity. This is, therefore, gladdening. It is necessary to state that Integrity has no substitute. It is either one has integrity or one is morally bankrupt.

As widely reported, the Election Petition Tribunal, headed by Hon Justice H. T. D. Gwadah, has fixed Friday 6th, 2023, for delivery of its Judgment in the Petition filed by Chief Ikechi Emenike, 2023 Governorship Candidate of APC against Mazi Alexander Otti who was declared winner of 2023 Governorship Election on the platform of Labour Party by INEC, in which Chief Okechukwu Ambrose Ahiwe of Peoples Democratic Party and Engr Naana Nwafor of Young Peoples Party are joined.

For more than two consecutive months, the Tribunal has been busy hearing from all the Parties in the Petition and also receiving exhibits from each of them.

It may be recalled that in the Governorship Election that took place in Abia State on March 18, 2023, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had declared Mazi Alexander Otti of Labour Party victorious in very controversial circumstances that revolved around the Returning Officer in the election, Professor Nnenna Nnannaya Oti, whose conduct was believed to be bereft of transparency and public confidence. Chief Okechukwu Ambrose Ahiwe was declared Second, Engr Naana Nwafor third and Chief Emenike fourth, respectively.

So far, no scandal has been heard about the activities of the Tribunal. There has not been any cause for alarm for any of the Parties involved, except there is any yet to be made public.

Centre For Equity And Eradication Of Rural Poverty thinks this is an encouraging development, especially in these days when Nigerians appear to have lost confidence in the Judiciary. Unfortunately, what many people have refused to appreciate is that Money or Wealth accumulated fraudulently, that is at the expense of truth and justice, never ends well for the accumulator. That is why the children of parents who had diverted public money meant for public use, especially against the overall interest of the poor, end up as drug addicts and may even end up keeping their parents disastrously restless, all through their lives after they have gluttonously looted the people’s wealth. It is currently happening in Igbo land and will remain the trend for many years to come. It is said that Karma is a bitch!

Sequel to adoption of Written Addresses by the the Nine Parties involved in the Petitions, the Tribunal has adjourned sitting to Friday 6th October, 2023, when it will deliver Judgment. That day, according to Igbo Calendar, will be Nkwo. Within this period of adjournment, the Chairman, Members 1 and 2, and relevant Judicial Staff will be very busy trying to put all the presentations put forward by each of the Parties in their proper perspective. They will rely on Appropriate Legal Authorities, especially Judgments by the Supreme Court relevant to the ones before them. Both the Laws of the Federation and their Conscience will guide them.

In the midst of it all, Centre For Equity And Eradication Of Rural Poverty will be ceaseless in drawing the attention of this highly respected Tribunal to the following issues, amongst others, that need to be resolved:

1.) Whether having regard to the decision of the Federal High Court Division in Suit No: FHC/KN/CS/07/2023, Ibrahim Haruna Ibrahim V Labour Party & ANOR and the expiration by virtue of Section 285 (12) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, of the Appeal No: CA/KN/101/M/2023, Mazi Alexander Chioma Otti V Ibrahim Haruna Ibrahim, INEC and Labour Party, Mazi Alexander Otti can continue to be Governor of Abia State?

2.) Whether in accordance with Section 177(C) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, and Section 77 (2) and (3) of 2022 Electoral Act, if Mazi Alexander Chioma Otti was constitutionally qualified to participate in March 18, 2023 Governorship Election in Abia State?

3.) Whether Mazi Alexander Chioma Otti scored the majority of lawful votes cast at the March 18, 2023 Governorship Election in Abia State?

4.) Whether votes lawfully scored by Chief Okechukwu Ambrose Ahiwe of Peoples Democratic Party in Obingwa Local Government Area in the March 18, 2023 Governorship Election, the result of which was duly signed and authenticated, can be unlawfully unilaterally set aside by the Returning Officer in Abia State Governorship Election of March 18, 2023 while a result which origin is unknown, even as no body signed it, including the Agent of Labour Party, was taken in its place?

5.) Whether resignation or not of a personal Staff of a State Governor, even though he resigned just for purposes of moral decency, has any constitutional incumbrance (s) against such former personal staff?

6.) Whether the declaration and return of Mazi Alexander Chioma Otti as Governor of Abia State was not marred by substantial non-compliance?, and

7.) Whether the Tribunal ought to order withdrawal and cancellation of the Certificate of Return issued to Mazi Alexander Chioma Otti and for same to be issued to Chief Okechukwu Ambrose Ahiwe of PDP?

It is the firm belief of Centre For Equity And Eradication Of Rural Poverty that the respected Tribunal will allow the cause and course of truth and Justice to prevail, and further carve a niche for themselves in the annals of dispensation of Justice.

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