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ABIA TRIBUNAL(Otti Vs Ahiwe) : I Am Being Threatened To Withdraw From This Matter – Ahiwe Counsel Cries Out 


ABIA TRIBUNAL(Otti Vs Ahiwe) : I Am Being Threatened To Withdraw From This Matter – Ahiwe Counsel Cries Out


The March 11, 2023 Governorship election which produced Dr. Alex Otti of the Labour Party, as the executive governor of Abia State, is still in contestation by opposition political parties.


Pre-hearing into the suit filed by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP and it’s Governorship candidate, Okey Ahiwe- Prosecutors) against Alex Otti, Labour Party and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC – Defendants) commenced at the Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia, with the PDP presenting three prosecution witnesses on Wednesday, July 26.


The three member Governorship election petitions tribunal is headed by Justice H.T.D. Gwadah.


After presenting the PDP’s first witness, Mr Chizuru Kanu a legal practitioner, the party’s counsel, CAN Nwokeukwu, SAN, sought to tender the PW1’s membership card, voter’s card and witness’s report as evidences.


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Although the 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents objected to the adoption of the witness’s party membership and voter’s cards as evidence, the court accepted the items as exhibits.

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While cross examining the first witness, INEC’s counsel, J.T.U. Nnodum, SAN argued that a written appointment letter of Kanu as PDP’s LGA collation agent in Aba South lacks authenticity as it does not bear INEC’s stamp on it.


Responding, the witness noted that though his appointment letter has no INEC stamp on it, it was endorsed by the receiver.


He noted further that he has no complaint on how the election was conducted in his ward; Ogbor 2 ward 11 of Aba South Local Government Area of the state.


While being cross examined by Otti’s counsel, Olusola Dare, the witness could not ascertain the total number of polling units in Ogbor 2 and 11 but estimated about 20 wards.


According to him, he got reports from over 300 polling units and ward agents of the party who were party members and some volunteers on the outcome of the election via telephone calls, sms and correspondences which formed the basis of his witness report tendered in court.

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When asked if the election result was transmitted by BVAS in his ward, the witness said ” I was not there; if it was uploaded, I didn’t know”.


On the other hand, the PDP’s second witness, Mr Ahamba Boniface, a health officer in Aba South health office and a ward collation agent during the last election, told the tribunal that he did not see INEC’s collation officers neither did he see the ward and local governments results as he and other agents were refused entrance into the collation centre.


He noted that he was accredited and voted at ward 1 Aba South, however, he was not on ground when the final results were announced after the elections.


Similarly, the third witness, Mr Williams Chima, a tailor and ward collation agent said he didn’t see form EC8B (result sheet for ward).


According to him, he voted at Asa ward 2 and INEC staff did not issue results to party agents after the election at the polling units.

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As the tribunal Chairman called for the next witness, PDP’s counsel, Nwokeukwu, interjected. When given audience, the counsel informed the tribunal that he had received 5 telephone calls from unknown persons since the beginning of the matter, threatening him to withdraw from the matter.


“I have received about 5 telephone calls from unregistered numbers asking me to for the interest of my life, withdraw from this matter. I am a child of God and I fear no evil” Nwokeukwu stated.


He applied for an adjournment on the grounds of safety, citing the uproar currently happening in Aba.


” I will ask my lord, for safety sake, may I humbly apply for adjournment till tomorrow” he pleaded.


As the counsels to the three respondents did not oppose the application for an adjournment, justice Gwadah adjourned till Thursday, July 27, 2023 for continuation of hearing.


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