A Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Constitutional Lawyer, Mike Ozekhome has faulted the Justice Oyebisi Omoleye-led Panel of the Court of Appeal that nullified the election of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, describing it as ‘fundamentally wrong’ and full of errors in Law.
Mr. Ozekhome, who is also a Human Rights Activist was speaking at a Channels TV Breakfast Programme ‘Sunrise Daily’ aired on Friday, January 8, 2016, pointed out that the Court of Appeal was wrong in nullifying the election of Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu and declaring the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Mr. Alex Otti as the winner of the election.
The Constitutional Lawyer noted that the Court of Appeal erred in Law by granting the Appeal of Mr. Otti who could not adopt his own Written Statement on Oath at the Tribunal and also by admitting in Evidence, the Card Reader Report from a witness who was not the maker of the document. He also wondered how the Court of Appeal could give credence to the Evidence of the APGA Star Witness, Mr. Ahamdi Nweke, who was only a Collation Centre Agent and could not have been at the Polling Units where Elections were alleged not to have held.
The erudite Senior Advocate reasoned that on the facts of the case before the Court of Appeal, it was fundamentally wrong for them to have declared Mr. Alex Otti as the winner of the elections and ordered his swearing-in. He noted that considering the fact that even going by the calculations of the Appeal Court Justices, the difference between the votes allocated to Mr. Otti and Dr. Ikpeazu was 48,000 while the total number of registered voters in the 3 Local Government Areas of Obingwa, Osisioma and Isialangwa North where they cancelled elections are over 250,000 and as such, going by the Electoral Act, the very worst the Court of Appeal should have ordered should have been a rerun election in those 3 Local Government Areas where they cancelled elections to decide the eventual winner.
He equally faulted the Court of Appeal for relying only on the Card Reader to determine the issue of over-voting and wondered why they discountenanced the Manual Accreditation done in those Local Government Areas considering the fact that the INEC Guidelines allowed for Manual Accreditation where Card Readers fail.
Mr. Ozekhome expressed the confidence that the Supreme Court will not allow the Appeal Court Judgment on Abia State Governorship Elections to stand in the interest of Equity, Justice and Fairness.