The Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abia State at the weekend dismissed the petition filed by the candidate of the All Progressives Alliance (APC), in the March 2019 governorship poll, Dr Uche Ogah and that of the APC against Gov Okezie Ikpeazu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and four others for failing to abide by the Electoral Act.
The chairman of the tribunal, Justice A O Obumeoye dismissed the petition in Umuahia while ruling on a motion filed by Gov Ikpeazu’s lawyers who is the fourth respondent in the petition seeking to oust him.
Obumeoye held that the petitioners were deemed to have abandoned the petition having failed to activate the pre-trial process within the time stipulated by paragraph 18 (I) in the Fifth Schedule of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
He argued that parties who are convinced that they have no case in any matter should not waste the time of the tribunal by filing petitions, pointing out that Ogah and APC’s matter failed because they failed to abide by the Electoral Act in pursuance their matter.
The tribunal had earlier dismissed two applications filed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the PDP on the ground that the seal of the legal practitioner who deposed the documents was not attached, a situation tribunal observed, rendered the documents incompetent.
Reacting to the ruling, James Igwe SAN representing the PDP as well as one of the lawyers representing Gov Ikpeazu, Uche Ihediwa hailed the decision of the tribunal, describing it as a judgment that was based wholly on law.
Similarly, Godwin Chionye represented Uche Ogah and the APC acknowledged that members of the tribunal gave their ruling according to the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, while INEC’s lawyer, Haggler Okorie, described the judgment as unassailable.
Meanwhile, the tribunal has set aside Wednesday, June 19, 2019 as the date of commencement of the hearing of the petition filed by Dr Alex Otti, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the 2019 governorship election.
The tribunal concluded the pre-trial on the matter on Friday.