Abia residents and indeed, Abia State were shocked and disappointed over the tribunal ruling yesterday, which upheld the election of Mao Ohuabunwa as the duly elected senator for Abia North Senatorial District.
There had been expectations that eminent businessman and former governor of the state, Orji Uzor Kalu would emerge victorious at the tribunal having challenged the March 28 senatorial poll in Abia North Senatorial District and prayed the court to nullify the results.
This is even as second panel ordered a re-run in some parts of Obingwa and Osisioma local government areas, where the election was said to have been marred by malpractices in Abia South senatorial zone where Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, represents his people at the Senate.
The second panel also upheld the election of Nkiruka Onyejiocha as member representing Isuikwuato/Umunneochi Federal Constituency.
Delivering judgment yesterday, Chairman of the panel 1 tribunal, Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo, however, admitted that there were falsifications, alterations, inflation and deflation of figures
Meanwhile, residents of Aba have taken a swipe at the judgment of the election petition tribunal. In its ruling yesterday, the tribunal upheld INEC’s declaration of Ohuabunwa, which residents of Aba faulted.
In his reaction, John Igwe Ochu from Ohahia, but resident at the Amamong axis of Aba said during the election, he and others travelled home to cast their votes and stated that the INEC declaration and the tribunal’s judgment did not reflect the wishes of the people.
“We are not surprised at what is happening at the tribunal at all because after the election, what they were after was for them to be declared winner in the first place, thereafter they would sort themselves out at the tribunal,” he said.
Ijioma Igu from Bende wondered how someone who came a distant third in an election could be declared winner by INEC and the tribunal subsequently allowed the declaration.
“With this development, there is no hope for the country because in Abia, we never voted for PDP because of their misrule in the past eight years. We voted for change, but the drama is continuing.
“We would have been happy if the tribunal had done the wishes of majority of the people and declared Kalu the winner because, I repeat, we did not vote for PDP in the last election,” Igu said.
He, however, noted that all hopes were not lost and he advised Dr. Kalu to proceed to the Appeal Tribunal where he was optimistic that the former governor of the state would get justice.
“We are happy that the Appeal Tribunal is there to correct the mistakes made by the tribunal and I am advising OUK to approach the higher tribunal to get back his mandate.”
Igu said despite the evil machinations of some political desperados in the state, OUK would still have victory at last.
However, it was gathered that Kalu will appeal the tribunal’s ruling.