The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, has reaffirmed the victory of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), representing the Abia-North senatorial district.
In a unanimous ruling today Monday, November 6, the Appeal Court upheld the judgment of the National Assembly Petitions Tribunal, Umuahia which earlier dismissed the petition of Peoples Democratic Party’s Mao Ohuabunwa and Labour Party’s Nnamdi Iro Orji for lacking merit.
The court while upholding the victory of Kalu, according to a statement by his media office in Abuja, said that the election of the former Abia Governor complied with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
The Appeal Court Justices also faulted the arguments of both petitioners that the election was not held in over 120 polling units mainly in Ohafia and Arochukwu Local Government Areas of the zone.
The court also set aside the prayers of Iro Orji, to disqualify Senator Kalu, for having allegedly admitted before the Federal High Court that he was convicted of fraud.
The panel in its ruling held that there is no valid conviction of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu under Section 66 of the Nigerian Constitution as the said conviction had been nullified.
Further dismissing the appeals of Iro and Ohuabunwa, the panel also ruled that appellants of both the PDP and LP failed to prove their allegations of elections not being held in some polling units.
The court in its constitutional interpretation also validated Kalu’s eligibility to contest the election stating that his trial and conviction were quashed by the Supreme Court.
Three other grounds of the LP candidate were dismissed in Kalu’s favour.
Kalu, a chieftain of the APC, was declared the winner by the INEC returning officer for Abia North, Chinedu Nnamdi at Ohafia.
Kalu a two-term senator who currently chairs the Senate committee on privatisation and commercialisation, was declared the winner by INEC in the February 25 Senatorial poll having scored 30,805 votes to defeat Nnamdi who got 27,540 votes.
The Abia Senator’s other opponent Mao Ohuabunwa of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scored 15,175 votes to place third.