September 11, 2011

Tribunal upholds Orji’s election

BY Anayo Okoli

Umuahia – ABIA State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia, weekend, dismissed the petition filed by the former deputy governor of the state, Comrade Chris Akomas, of the Progressive Peoples Alliance, PPA, challenging the election of his former boss, Governor Theodore Orji.

The tribunal said Orji was validly elected governor of Abia State at the election.

Akomas had approached the tribunal praying it to upturn the declaration of Chief Theodore Orji as elected governor of the state by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

Ruling on the application of incompetence brought by Governor Orji, chairman of the three-man panel, Justice Mobolaji Ojo, said the petition was dead on arrival.

Governor Orji had challenged the competence of the petition on the grounds that the petition was not signed, as stipulated by the Electoral Act; that he did not state the scores of all the candidates in the said election, and non-joinder of the political parties.

Justice Ojo said there were numerous flaws in the petition brought by the former deputy governor, saying that the flaws rendered the petition incurable and irredeemable.

He said: “Therefore, the petition was already dead on arrival and simply messy that no subsequent argument and submissions by any lawyer, no matter how ingenious, could save the petition which was already doomed even before it was presented before the tribunal.”

Akomas, through his counsel Mr. Emeka Ukachukwu, described the ruling of the tribunal as a rape on democracy saying the tribunal failed to appreciate the issues raised in their petition.

He said: “Akomas will definitely appeal against this ruling by the tribunal, after I must have briefed him on the outcome.”