An Appeal Court sitting in Lagos State on Saturday upheld Alex Otti’s victory as Abia State Governor in March 18, 2023, gubernatorial elections.
In a unanimous decision, the court stressed that the election of Alex Otti conformed with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
The court dismissed the appeals brought by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) and their governorship candidates against Otti’s victory.
The PDP candidate in the election, Ahiwe had approached the appellate court after losing an earlier legal challenge at the state election tribunal, which upheld Otti’s March 2023 victory.
He had alleged that Otti was unqualified to contest the polls and forged academic credentials.
But the three-member appeals court panel affirmed that he failed to provide sufficient evidence debunking the substantive decision of the lower tribunal.
The court said issues of political party membership is a pre-election matter, which also falls within the jurisdiction of the political party.
It buttressed the decision saying that since Otti joined the Labour Party, won its primary election and submitted his name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), he was qualified to contest.
On the issues of Bimodial Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, 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.
In his reaction to the appeal court’s ruling, Ahiwe urged his supporters to keep calm and retain confidence despite the setback.
Nnamdi Maduakor is a Writer, Investor and Entrepreneur