Tribunal Affirms PDP’s Total Control of Abia LGs 15 Months after Poll

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Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia

The Abia State Local Government Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia yesterday  delivered judgment on the only petition it received after the December 18, 2020 Council poll affirming that the ruling party also won in the contentious Ohafia local government.

The Abia State Independent Electoral Commission (ABSIEC) had declared the candidates of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) victorious in all the 17 chairmanship seats and councillors across the state.

But the chairmanship candidate of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) for Ohafia local government, Hon Kalu Mba Nwoke felt he was robbed of his victory and approached the tribunal to reclaim the “stolen mandate”.

In his petition filed on January 15, 2021, Hon Nwoke alleged that the council poll in Ohafia was marred by malpractices including falsification and arbitrary allocation of results to favour the PDP candidate. 

The petitioner urged the tribunal to declare him the duly elected chairman of Ohafia local government, “having scored the majority of lawful votes”.

However, in a unanimous judgment, the three-man panel headed by Margistrate U.U. Uche held that the petitioner did not prove his allegations of electoral malpractices beyond reasonable doubt and also “failed to provide credible evidence” to prove that he scored majority ov of lawful votes.

Speaking with journalists after the verdict, Hon Nwoke said that he was disappointed at the outcome of his petition, adding that his legal team would study the judgment and “take necessary action”.

He urged his supporters to remain calm as there is still a window of opportunity for him to appeal the tribunal judgment hence “there’s still light at the end of the tunnel”.

On his part, the Ohafia council chairman welcomed the judgment and commended the tribunal “for upholding justice”, noting that the opposition candidate had merely went to the tribunal “to waste our time and resources”.