PDP asks tribunal to declare candidate governor- elect in Abia

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The Peoples Democratic Party,PDP in Abia State has asked the election petition tribunal sitting in Umuahia to withdraw the certificate of return given to Dr Alex Chioma Otti of Labour Party.

The party said Otti was not qualified to contest the March 18 governorship election.

PDP in Petition EPT/AB/GOV/01/2023 claimed that Dr Alex Otti was, at the time of the election, not qualified to contest the election.

The party also alleged that Dr Alex Otti was not duly elected by the majority of lawful votes cast at the election; and the election and return of Alex Otti was invalid and marred by corrupt practices or non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022.

According to the PDP, a candidate for the office of Governor of a State must be duly sponsored by a political party in compliance with the provisions of Section 177(c) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

The party argued further that political party must submit a register bearing the name of such candidate as a member of its party to INEC at least 30 days before the conduction of its party primaries, in compliance with Section 77(3) of the Electoral Act 2022.

It added that Labour Party did not submit its party membership register to INEC for either Isialangwa South or Arochukwu LGAs or Abia State, 30 days before the holding of its primaries on 8th June 2022; therefore, Alex Otti stands disqualified to contest the election on the platform of the Labour Party. Conversely, Dr Alex Otti’s name was on the Register submitted by APC in the same period.

The party said “On the contrary, Alex Otti was a Governorship aspirant under the All Progressive Congress (APC) up to 26th May 2022, when the APC held its Governorship primaries in Abia State”.

PDP argued that unless it is shown that the name of Alex Otti was on the membership register submitted by LP to INEC 30 days before 8th June 2022, Alex Otti cannot validly and legally be said to have been a member of, or sponsored by LP for the Governorship election.

The PDP also argued that Alex Otti was not duly elected by the majority of lawful votes cast at the election on account of unlawful manipulation and inflation of votes by Alex Otti and INEC in Aba North, Aba South, Arochukwu, Bende, Ikwuano, Isuikwuato, Ohafia, Umuahia North, Umuahia South and Umunneochi LGAs; and suppression and discounting of votes in Obingwa LGA.

It said as a result, the total number of votes in the inflated LGAs mentioned above, as recorded in the polling unit results (Form 8C8A) do not tally with the number of accredited and verified voters on the record of the Bimodal Vote Accreditation System (BVAS) for the affected polling units.

PDP, therefore, prayed that it be determined by the Tribunal that its Candidate, Okey Ahiwe was duly and validly elected and ought to be returned as Governor of Abia State, having polled the highest number of lawful votes cast at the election and having satisfied other Constitutional requirements by obtaining the required spread of 25% of votes in at least two-thirds of votess cast in all the 17 LGAs of Abia State.