Ikpeazu urges tribunal to dismiss APGA petition




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Abia governor Okezie Ikpeazu

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Governor Okezie Ipeazu of Abia Thursday prayed the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia to dismiss the petition filed by Dr Alex Otti of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

Otti, who is challenging the re-election of Gov Ikpeazu,  in the March 9 governorship  poll in the state, alleged massive irregularities in 15 of 17 local councils in the state.

Adopting his final written address, Chief Wole Olanipekun, the lead counsel for  Ikpeazu, urged the panel to dismiss the petitioner’s case for lacking in merit.

He argued that the main document, which the petitioners were relying on, was procured after their petition had been filed.

He accused the petitioners of dumping document on the panel, alleging that the document itself was suspicious.

In his address, Mr Onyinyechi Ikpeazu, the counsel to the PDP, prayed the tribunal to discountenance the petitioners’ suit for failure to adduce sufficient evidence to their claims.

He posited that by calling only 65 witnesses to testify against the outcome of the poll in 788 polling units, the petitioners were deemed to have abandoned their pleadings in the remaining polling units.

In his submission, Mr Zakawanu Garuba, counsel for the second respondent, the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) said the documents tendered by the petitioners did not conform with the schedule of the electoral law.

He, therefore, urged the panel to disregard the petition.

But Lateef Fagbemi, the lead counsel for the petitioners, urged the panel to dismiss the objections of the respondents.

He claimed that the aspect of the law in which they were relying upon in their arguments with respect to the use of smart card readers  had been changed.

Fagbemi also countered the submission of Olanipekun, saying that INEC never disowned the documents tendered by the petitioners.

After listening to all arguments in the matter, chairman of the panel, Justice Lekan Ogumonye, reserved judgment for a date to be communicated all the parties. (NAN)




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