Residents of Umuahia, Abia State capital, trooped to the streets in their thousands, on Tuesday, to protest the judgment of the National and state Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, which upheld the election of former Gov. Theodore Ahamefule Orji for Abia Central Senatorial District.
The residents, who chanted anti-Orji songs, carried placards with various inscriptions, such as, ‘Abia youths reject tribunal’s judgment,’ ‘We did not vote for Orji’ and ‘Ahamdi Nweke is our senator,” among other descriptions of the former governor.
The protesters, mainly traders, market men and women, students, further decried the judgments delivered by the tribunal on the March 28 elections in the state.
A trader, who identified himself simply as Austin from Umuafai-Ndume Umuahia, said, ‘’Orji is our in-law but most people from this community did not vote for him during the election.
‘’Orji was the worst governor Abia has ever produced.
‘’Look at our community, we have no road, no pipe-borne water and our youths have no jobs, yet Orji’s wife is from here”.
Kingsley Onwuegbu, an undergraduate, expressed worry over the judgment of the tribunal, saying: ‘’On what basis was Orji declared winner by the tribunal, when he lost election in his Ugba polling unit?”
A kinsman of Orji said, on the condition of anonymity: “Our people resolved during the election not to vote for Orji because he did nothing for our community.
‘’Go to my village and see the degree of neglect by Orji’s eight years administration”. He added that the area was ravaged by erosion, which had rendered the roads impassable.”
The protesters decried the role of the staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Umuahia who allegedly manipulated the election to deny the people their preferred candidate.
It took heavily armed mobile policemen over an hour to disperse the protesters, who were heading for the High Court premises on Ikot Ekpene Road, Umuahia, venue of the tribunal, to express their grouse over the judgments. The spokesman for the state police command, Mr Ezekiel Onyeke, confirmed the protest but said that it was brought under control by the police.