Abia North appeal court judgement : ‘Miscarriage of justice’ – Sen Ohuabunwa
* Says Nigeria democracy under siege
Senator Mao Ohuabunwa of Abia North has described his loss at the court of appeal as “a miscarriage of justice”.
Ohuabunwa who was the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the February 23rd senatorial election made the assertion in his formal reaction to the judgement of the Appeal Court sitting in Owerri which ended his ambition to return to the senate.
The Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia had invalidated the election of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu of the All Progressive Congress, APC, on the grounds of non compliance with the Electoral Act, and principles of margin of lead .
It therefore, ordered INEC to conduct a supplementary poll in eight out of the 11 wards in Arochukwu Local Government Area plus so many other polling units across the zone where results of the poll were not collated.
Most of the affected polling units were believed to be PDP strongholds.
But dissatisfied with the judgment of the tribunal, Kalu headed for the appeal court where the appellate court, last Thursday, set aside the judgement of the tribunal, arguing that the lower court erred in justice by granting the PDP candidate “reliefs he never asked for.”
Reacting to the judgement of the appeal court, Ohuabunwa said he strongly believed he won the election but claimed that his “mandate was stolen.”
The former Speaker, ECOWAS Parliament who spoke on Monday through a press release by the Director General of his “Follow Better” Campaign Organisation, Dr. Ndubuisi Eke, said democracy in Nigeria was under siege.
Senator Ohuabunwa who expressed concern over “the preponderance of bad eggs” among INEC officials and ad-hoc staff described the duo as “the worst enemies of Nigeria democracy”.
He claimed that “the mandate of Abia North people was stolen through the collaboration of INEC and compromised security agents who maintained criminal silence in the face of evil”.
Ohuabunwa who expressed shock over the judgement of the appeal court said he had been inundated by calls from democrats and well meaning Nigerians whose hope was dashed by the verdict.
“Our judiciary again, lost another golden opportunity to restore public confidence and rekindle the people’s hope on our fledgling democracy”, he regretted.
He wondered how the members of the panel arrived at their conclusion that the lower tribunal erred in justice by ordering a supplementary election in areas ” where INEC robbed the people of their right to decide who will be their leader”.
“Is it now justice that votes in eight out of 11 wards (including my own Ward and Unit) in my Arochukwu LGA were collated but unjustifiably and dubiously thrown away by INEC? Is it justice that the only places where votes were cancelled were PDP strongholds, affecting 101,000 registered voters which the tribunal in its wisdom wanted to correct by ordering a supplementary?” he queried.
Ohuabunwa said the judgement of the appeal court was “a travesty of justice, bad precedence in our legal system and a judicial nod to illegality and broad-day robbery of the people’s mandate”.
He insisted that “INEC criminally subverted the will of the people of Abia North by not making their votes to count”.
“INEC clearly violated the Electoral Act by giving certificate of return to a candidate who was never returned by any Returning Officer because the margin of win was far less than the total number of cancelled votes”, he argued.
He however said he had handed over the matter to God “who alone is the final and only righteous judge.”
Ohuabunwa equally said he had moved on with life, saying that since the appellate court was the final bus stop for the legal tussle, he had “resigned the matter to God”.
He described the people as the worst loosers of the legal battle “because they have been robbed of their mandate”.
” My only regret is that Abia North which has always produced great voices at the senate has suddenly become a comic relief and laughing stock at the red chamber”.
He thanked his numerous supporters, Ndigbo and all Nigerians who stood by him while the legal battle lasted, urging them and “the good people of Abia North not to despair but have faith in God” as according to him, “darkness can only last for a short while “.
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