The Abia State governorship election tribunal, sitting in Umuahia, has scheduled October 6, 2023, as the date for delivering its judgement regarding the petition lodged by Okey Ahaiwe, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, in the March 18 Abia State governorship election.
The decision to fix this date came after both the petitioner’s and respondents’ legal representatives had presented their written arguments before the tribunal.
Professor Paul Ananaba, SAN, the counsel to Okey Ahaiwe, passionately urged the tribunal to validate the petition and grant the various requests contained within. These requests primarily seek the removal of Governor Alex Otti from office and the declaration of Okey Ahaiwe as the rightful governor of Abia State.
In contrast, A.J. Owonikoko, SAN, representing Governor Otti, raised objections to the appearance and testimony of Samuel Oduntan, a subpoenaed witness for the PDP. Owonikoko argued that Oduntan lacked the competence to appear in court regarding this matter. He cited a precedent set by the presidential election petition tribunal’s ruling on Atiku vs. INEC, delivered earlier this week, which regarded the documents submitted by Samuel Oduntan as irrelevant.
Furthermore, Owonikoko contested the prayers submitted by the petitioner and implored the court to dismiss the PDP’s petition, affirming the legitimacy of Alex Otti’s victory.
During the proceedings, the PDP governorship candidate, Okey Ahaiwe, accompanied by his running mate, Jasper Uche, and other prominent PDP members, demonstrated their unwavering support for Ahaiwe within the courtroom.
This development follows an earlier decision by the governorship election petition tribunal, earlier this week, to also announce its judgement on October 6 in the case filed by Ikechi Emenike, the All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate, against Governor Alex Otti.