The Abia North Senatorial rerun election petitions tribunal constituted to look into the election matter involving a former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) and Senator Mao Ohuabunwa of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would deliver its judgment on the matter today.
The Abia North rerun election was conducted on March 5, 2016. But after the election which the returning officer, Dr. Bertrand Nwankwo-Ojike, declared inconclusive, INEC ordered him to go ahead and declare the PDP candidate winner with 195 vote lead.
Abia North is made up of five local government areas: Arochukwu, Bende, Isuikwuato, Ohafia and Umunneochi. To arrive at this point, the three-man tribunal headed by Justice James Abundaga, with Umar Abubarkar and Isa Gantsa as members, commenced hearing on the matter on April 13, 2016.
The process lasted four months, ending in August 9, 2016. While Kelvin Nwufo (SAN) led Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu’s legal team, Wole Olanipekun (SAN) led that of Chief Mao Ohuabunwa. Dr Livy Uzoukwu was the lead counsel for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The six months the trial lasted has been soaked with tension from both sides as the principal witnesses, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu and Chief Mao Ohuabunwa were at the tribunal to testify. On August 9, 2016, the tribunal adopted the addresses and wound down its sitting.
Kalu, through his counsel provided preponderance of evidence and witnesses to support his claim that he won the election but was shortchanged through the manipulation of the PDP and its candidate and INEC. He prayed the tribunal to re-compute the result and declare him winner. The forensic expert, polling agents and voters from Arochukwu, Ohafia, Isuikwuato and Umunneochi testified.