Appeal Court Upholds Orji Kalu’s Victory, Dismisses PDP, LP’s Petitions

The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos has affirmed Senator Orji Uzor Kalu of the All Progressive Congress (APC), as the winner of the Abia North Senatorial District election.

The court, on Monday, dismissed the petitions by Nnamdi Iro Orji (Opotoyom) of the Labour Party, and Mao Ohuabunwa of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The court ruled that there was no valid conviction of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu under section 66 of the Nigerian Constitution as the said conviction had been nullified.

The National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia had upheld the victory of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu representing Abia North Senatorial zone in the February 25, 2023 polls.

A three man panel led by Justice Samson Paul-Gang in its unanimous ruling on Tuesday, September 12, dismissed the petition of Peoples Democratic Party’s Mao Ohuabunwa and Labour Party’s Nnamdi Iro Orji for lacking merit.

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The court, while upholding the victory of Kalu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said that the election of the former Senate Chief Whip compiled with the provisions of the Electoral Act.

The tribunal judges also faulted the arguments of both petitioners that election did not hold in over 120 polling units mainly in Ohafia and Arochukwu Local Government Areas of the zone. Nnamdi Iro and Ohuabunwa who came second and third respectively, Labour Party, in separate suits had asked the court to overturn the election of the former Abia Governor as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, alleging irregularities. Also thrown out out was the petition of the PDP and LP was the argument that the total number of registered voters in the said affected polling units was far above the margin of win between Kalu and the first and second runners-up.

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The court also validated Kalu’s eligibility to contest the election stating that his trial and conviction was quashed by the supreme court.

Two other matters filed by the LP challenging Kalu’s election were also interpreted and laid to rest by the Tribunal judges and thus declared Kalu the duly elected Senator of Abia North. Kalu, a Chieftain of the APC was declared winner by the INEC returning Officer for Abia North, Mr Chinedu Nnamdi at Ohafia. Kalu, a two time lawmaker who currently chairs Senate committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation was declared winner by INEC of the February 25, 2023 Senatorial polls having scored 30,805 votes to defeat Nnamdi who got 27,540 votes.

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While Kalu’s other opponent, Ohuabunwa of the PDP scored 15,175 votes to place third.