Appeal Court: Don’t Reinforce Failure In Abia North, Cleric Warns Wike
Abia-born cleric, Reverend Kalu Ukpai Ota has cautioned the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike not to reinforce failure by manipulating judges of the Appeal Court to “smuggle the ineffective and incompetent Mao Ohuabunwa back to the Senate”.
He also warned the former Rivers State Governor never to be deceived by the former lawmaker, who according to him failed in his polling unit, ward, and council area.
According to Rev Ota, manipulating judges in favor of Ohuabunwa would be a disservice to the people of Abia North Senatorial District.
Ota, while reacting to a statement by a chieftain of the Labour Party ( LP) from Abia State, Elder Cosmos Okorie, who accused the minister of working with judges to deliver Abia to PDP, said: “Wike’s action if true is capable of setting the state ablaze.”
“I am an ordained minister of a renowned church, and I must always say the truth at all times. Manipulating Appeal Court judges in favor of Mao Ohuabunwa won’t be acceptable here. We won’t allow Wike to reinforce failure in our Senatorial District. Mao Ohuabunwa was rejected even in his community.
“So, if his people rejected him, and the entire Senatorial District, it would be a disservice to our people reinforcing him.
“We are happy with what Senator Orji Uzor Kalu is doing across the five local government areas. You can see the level of development in Abia North since he was elected. He has constructed the road in my community, gave us solar streetlights, built health centers, and renovated schools. Therefore, we won’t accept unnecessary interference from an outsider,” he said.
Recall that the National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia had 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 complied with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
The tribunal judges also faulted the arguments of both petitioners that the election was not held in over 120 polling units mainly in the 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 were 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 thus declaring 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 the Senate Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation was declared the winner by INEC on February 25, 2023, in 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.