Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Abia state, Dr Alex Otti friday filed his petition challenging the outcome of the 2015 governorship poll in Abia, which was won by the Dr Okezie Victor Ikpeazu of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In the petition filed by his legal team led by Chief Akin Olujimi, SAN, Otti claimed that he was the winner of the governorship election, which was concluded with a supplementary poll on April 25, 2015, saying that his mandate was “stolen”. The petition is coming barely 48 hours to the expiration of the statutory deadline of 21 days after the declaration of results.
Speaking with journalists after the petition was filed at the Federal High court Umuahia, venue of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, the legal adviser to Otti’s campaign organisation, Mr Kenneth Ahia said that the petition was a “continuation of the electoral process”, adding that Otti had filed the petition at the tribunal in order “to recover the stolen mandate”.
He said that the APGA governorship candidate approached the tribunal to seek justice on the grounds that the governorship poll was characterised by electoral malpractices as well as non-compliance with the electoral guidelines.
Based on that, Otti in his petition sought for the nullification of Dr Ikpeazu’s victory and for the tribunal to instead, declare him (Otti) as the rightful winner of the Abia state 2015 governorship election, arguing that the Abia electorate “overwhelmingly voted” for him.
Among other things, Otti is also asking the tribunal to cancel the governorship election results as recorded in three local governments, namely Obingwa, Osisioma and Isiala Ngwa South. The results from these local governments became contentious during the collation of results at the state level when the Returning officer, Professor Benjamin Ozumba cancelled them and later reversed his decision.
APGA, which emerged as the formidable opposition in Abia in the 2015 general elections has been kicking against the declaration of Ikpeazu as the winner of the gubernatorial poll.
In the results declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on April 26, 2015, Dr Ikpeazu scored a total of 264,713 votes to confine Dr Otti to the second position with 180,882 votes.
It was gathered that apart from Chief Olujimi, the lead counsel, the legal team assembled by Otti is populated by five other Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN).