The Abia State Petition Election Tribunal in Umuahia has scheduled October 6, 2023, as the date for delivering judgment on a petition challenging the declaration of Mr. Alex Otti as the winner of the March 18, 2023, governorship election in Abia State.
Chief Ikechi Emenike, the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the election, filed the petition, alleging that Otti did not resign from his previous party membership before joining the Labour Party. Emenike also claimed that Otti’s name was not in the Labour Party register before his nomination as the party’s governorship candidate.
The petition also involved the candidates of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Young Progressives Party (YPP), and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Abiodun Owolekoko (SAN), the lead counsel for Otti, expressed optimism that the tribunal’s judgment would be in favor of his client. Meanwhile, Tochukwu Maduka (SAN), Emenike’s counsel, argued that Otti’s name did not appear in the Labour Party register and urged the court to cancel Otti’s votes and declare his client as the lawful winner of the election.
Professor Paul Anaba, the lead counsel for the PDP, supported the petitioner’s claim that Otti should be removed but added that the PDP would benefit from the petition as the allegation of non-resignation from Otti’s previous position as chief of staff to the former governor lacked legal merit.