The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos State in a unanimous decision on Saturday upheld the victory of Abia State Governor, Alex Otti, at the polls, stressing that it conformed with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
It dismissed the appeals by the Peoples Democratic Party and All Progressives Congress and their candidates.
The appellate court ruled that petitions brought by the appellants lacked merit as they were like “a comedy skit brought to a democratic setting”.
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The court said issues of political party membership are a pre-election matter, which also falls within the jurisdiction of the political party.
It further said that since Otti joined the Labour Party, won its primary election and submitted his name to the Independent National Electoral Commission, he was qualified to contest.
On the issues of Bimodial Voter Accreditation System brought by the PDP and its candidate, the Appeal Court said the appellants failed to demonstrate or link their documentary evidence to the specific parts of the case.
The judgement has sparked celebration among the supporters of Governor Otti in some parts of the State.
Meanwhile, the PDP while reacting to the judgment in a statement signed by the party’s acting State Publicity Secretary, Abraham Amah, advised its members to remain steadfast, calm, peaceful and law-abiding.
The statement reads: “The attention of the Abia PDP has been drawn to the judgement of the three-man panel of Appeal Court judges which sat in Lagos and upheld the decision of the Abia Election Petition Tribunal which had affirmed Alex Otti as the winner of the March 18, 2023 Abia governorship election following his declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
“Following the judgement of the Appeal Court, the Abia PDP assures its members, numerous supporters across Party lines and the good people of Abia State to remain calm as the party leadership is meeting with the governorship candidate and his running mate and the legal team to review the judgement of the Appeal Court and come up with the next line of action.
“Abia PDP uses this opportunity to reiterate its confidence in the Judiciary as the last hope of the common man and one of the strongest pillars of our democracy.
“We call on members of the PDP, our numerous supporters and sympathisers and the good people of Abia State to remain steadfast, calm, peaceful, law-abiding and put our hope and trust in God and in the Judiciary as we explore the options available to us.
“We also call on the good people of Abia who have been suffering under the bad policies of Alex Otti to know that the party would never abandon them.”