Abia stakeholders hail tribunal judgment validating Orji Kalu’s victory, ask PDP, LP to accept verdict
Prominent leaders from Abia State have commended Tuesday’s judgment of the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal that validated the victory of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu as the lawmaker representing Abia North Senatorial District.
The stakeholders described the verdict as thorough, stressing that it addressed all the issues raised by the petitioners.
According to a renowned security consultant and lawyer, Dr. Ody Ajike, the judgment was a true reflection of the mandate the people of Abia North Senatorial District delivered at the last National Assembly election.
Consequently, he urged the senatorial candidate of the Labour Party, Nnamdi Iro Orji, and his counterpart in the Peoples Democratic Party, Mao Ohuabunwa, to cooperate with Senator Orji Uzor Kalu in its effort to address the myriad of challenges facing the District.
He said: “The judgment is a valuable, well deserved and rewarding development in the politics of Abia North Senatorial Zone. As we all know, Judicial decisions as regards political competition will always produce competing interests that are usually resolved through consensus and compromise. This judgment is one that will further unite Abia North under Senator Orji Kalu’s primal leadership. I plead with the other candidates to join forces with Senator Kalu for the promotion of peace and stability in our senatorial zone.
“Senator Orji Kalu has brought a new meaning of development to Abia North by fostering profound changes and transformational developments that are paradigmatic. Senator Kalu is deliberately promoting stability and democracy within the senatorial Zone by restoring political trust, encouraging political participation in new ways, building new mechanisms of effective people oriented governance and enhancing collaboration with the people. He has provided every area within the zone with a slew of non excludable public goods and social investments in health, education, public infrastructure and maximal incentives that promote economic growth.
The Abia State Chairman of Reality Organization, Barr. Peter Ndukwe expressed his excitement to the judgement affirming the victory of Senator Orji Kalu, noting that the decision of the tribunal has kept hope alive for the people of Abia North Senatorial District.
“The unanimous judgement of the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia, Abia State upholding and validating the re-election of distinguished Senator Dr Orji Uzor Kalu is infallible and unimpeachable as it represents the true picture and sacrosanct position of the law. In fact the judgment which I firmly believe will be upheld and sustained if appealed by the aggrieved parties, will greatly enrich our electoral jurisprudence and case law. Virtually all issues raised or and canvassed in both the petition of PDP and Labour party were not germane but trivial, frivolous and could not be proven or established by hard facts and law. My candid opinion and advise to Senator Mao Ohuabunwa and Chief Nnamdi Iro Orji and their respective political parties (PDP and Labour) is for them to sheath their appellate swords and congratulate His Excellency and distinguished Senator Dr Orji Uzor Kalu (MON) for a well deserved victory.
“I am excited, elated and fascinated by the well reasoned, researched and erudite delivery of the aforesaid judgement by the respected judges. The said judgement has kept hope alive for Ndi Abia North, Abia State and Nigeria. Enough of the distractions so that OUK can continue with his massive infrastructural developments and legacy projects for Abia North Senatorial district. Thumb up for the National Assembly Election petition tribunal sitting in Umuahia. Congratulations to the great OUK.”
The Abia State Chairman of Abia’s largest socio-political group, OUK Movement, Hon. Ojisi Iro Ogbaja said: “The decision of the erudite judges was a thorough one that ensures that the wish of the people prevails. The masses applaud the judgment as a victory for democracy to the working Senator — and we appeal to those opposing him to allow Abia North to work.”
Similarly, the Chairman of Association of Nze, Ozo and Chiefs (ANOC) USA, Chief Sunday Okoro, applauded the ruling of the tribunal, saying: “Congratulations to Honorable Senator Orji Uzor Kalu on your great victory at the tribunal. I already knew he was going to win the tribunal matter; because, his winning during the election was a clear victory. The tribunal case was only to fulfill the due process of law. Once again, a big congratulations to him!”
A legal practitioner from Ohafia Local Government Area, Barr. Mbila Ayi said: “A well deserved winning on account of senator Orji Uzor Kalu’s zeal and keeness in delivering the dividends of democracy to Abia North indegenes.The judgement indeed reflects the people’s mandate in Abia North.”
Engr. Emma Nwosu, Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Ohafia Local Government Area, described the victory as “well deserved”, saying:
“It is indeed the Lord’s doing and victory for his entire constituents of Abia North Senatorial Zone, who have enjoyed effective and quality representation over the years from him.
We pray that the great God who has brought this victory will sustain it to the end and to the glory of His name.”
Also, a political leader from Nkporo clan and House of Assembly candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ohafia North State Constituency, Hon. Robinson Otuwe Kalu said: “I felt so happy when I heard the good news. I give God all the glory. I give kudos to the judges. It shows we still have hope for the judiciary.Congratulations to my mentor, Distinguished Senator Orji Uzor Kalu.”
Earlier, the chairman of the All Progressives Congress in Bende Local Government Area in Abia State, Hon Ulu Onwuchekwa, while reacting to the judgement, described the court’s verdict as true affirmation of overwhelming supports and votes given to Senator Orji Uzor Kalu by people during the just-concluded poll in Abua north and all other parts of Abia state, in order to continue with his effective representation at the senate for another four years..
According to him, “the effective and efficient representation displayed by the federal lawmaker had engendered the buildings of socio- economic and Infrastructural projects in most parts of Abia north zone which are visible for the world to see.
“Based on this purposeful leadership cum representation, people of this senatorial zone decided again that Senator Orji Uzor Kalu should continue to represent us at the senate. And this honorable tribunal in its wisdom in line with the 2022 electoral act as amended, and constitution of the land”.
The National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia on Tuesday upheld the victory of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu representing Abia North Senatorial zone in the February 25, 2023 polls.
A three man panel led by Justice Samson Paul-Gang in its unanimous ruling on Tuesday, September 12, dismissed the petition of Peoples Democratic Party’s Mao Ohuabunwa and Labour Party’s Nnamdi Iro Orji for lacking merit.
The court, while upholding the victory of Kalu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said that the election of the former Senate Chief Whip compiled with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
The tribunal judges also faulted the arguments of both petitioners that election did not hold in over 120 polling units mainly in Ohafia and Arochukwu Local Government Areas of the zone.
Nnamdi Iro and Ohuabunwa who came second and third respectively, Labour Party, in separate suits had asked the court to overturn the election of the former Abia Governor as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, alleging irregularities.
Also thrown out out was the petition of the PDP and LP was the argument that the total number of registered voters in the said affected polling units was far above the margin of win between Kalu and the first and second runners-up.
The court also validated Kalu’s eligibility to contest the election stating that his trial and conviction was quashed by the supreme court.
Two other matters filed by the LP challenging Kalu’s election were also interpreted and laid to rest by the Tribunal judges and thus declared Kalu the duly elected Senator of Abia North.
Kalu, a Chieftain of the APC was declared winner by the INEC returning Officer for Abia North, Mr Chinedu Nnamdi at Ohafia.
Kalu, a two time lawmaker who currently chairs Senate committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation was declared winner by INEC of the February 25, 2023 Senatorial polls having scored 30,805 votes to defeat Nnamdi who got 27,540 votes.
While Kalu’s other opponent, Ohuabunwa of the PDP scored 15,175 votes to place third.