The Appeal Court in Owerri, the Imo State capital, has nullified the election of the Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, of the Peoples Democratic Party. The court also declared the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance in the 2015 general elections, Dr. Alex Otti, as the winner of the poll. It (Appeal Court) subsequently set aside the judgement delivered by the Election Petitions Tribunal, which had earlier upheld Ikpeazu’s election.
Delivering its judgement on Thursday, the presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Oyebisi Omoleye, ruled that contrary to the initial governorship election result released, Otti scored the highest valid votes of 164,332 as against 114,444 votes scored by Ikpeazu.
Justice Omoleye affirmed that there were established cases of over-voting and allocation of votes in favour of the PDP candidate in three local government areas of the state. She identified the affected local government areas as Isi-Alangwa, Osisioma and Obingwa.
Justice Omoleye noted that the exercise in the three local government areas had been cancelled based on the proven irregularities. The presiding judge pointed out that Ikpeazu’s votes came to 114,444 after the election in Isi-Alangwa, Osisioma and Obingwa were nullified while the APGA governorship candidate’s votes came to 164,332.
“After subtracting the votes from the Isi-Alangwa, Osisioma, Obingwa, the PDP candidate is left with a total votes of 114,444, while the APGA candidate has 164,332 votes and should be returned as the rightful winner of the election.Subsequently the judgment of the tribunal, which upheld the election of the PDP candidate, is hereby set aside,” Justice Omoleye further ruled.