The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved judgment in an appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate, Okey Ahiwe, seeking the nullification of the election of Alex Oti as the Governor of Abia State.
Justice John Okoro reserved the judgment to a date to be communicated to parties after taking their final arguments.
Although APC’s legal team was led by the immediate past Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF), Abubakar Malami SAN, the arguments were however presented by Uche Ihediwa, SAN.
While presenting the PDP’s submissions, Ihediwa alleged that Ahiwe was short-changed with over 84,000 votes during the collation of the governorship election results.
The lawyer alleged that the agent of the PDP was chased away at the collation center and as such, was not obliged a copy of the results as required by law.
He claimed that his client had to approach the All Progressives Congress (APC) before it could access results sheets and discovered the alleged malpractices.
However, Otti, represented by Abiodun Owonikoko, SAN, asked the apex court to dismiss the appeal for want of merit.
Owonikoko informed the court that Otti scored over 174,000 votes at the March 18, 2023 governorship election to emerge victorious adding that even if the purported 84,000 short-changed votes were added to PDP, the appellants would still not win.
He said that a purported result sheet produced by the PDP before the State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal was rejected because it could not be read by the witness of the party.
It will be recalled that Otti of the LP was declared the winner of the governorship election in the Abia by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on March 22.
He polled 175,466 votes to defeat his closest rival, Ahiwe of the PDP, who scored 88,529 votes.
Ahiwe and the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ikechi Emenike, separately challenged Otti’s victory at the tribunal.
The tribunal in its judgment on October 6, 2023 dismissed the petitions by Ahiwe and Emenike and affirmed Otti’s election.
The judgment of the tribunal was later affirmed by the Court of Appeal. (NAN)