A former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, has hailed the judgment of the Abia Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, which upheld Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu’s election.
“I am extremely very happy with the judgment of the tribunal; one cannot challenge the will of God.
‘’Ikpeazu has been destined to be governor of Abia; no man or woman can deprive him of that.
‘’All we can do is to pray fervently for God to give him wisdom and good health to successfully steer the ship of the state,’’ Ogbulafor said in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Umuahia.
Ogbulafor also said that he had confidence in the ability of the governor to do well and acquit himself as governor, adding: ‘’that is why I have stood by him, campaigned with him to win.’’
He urged the opposition and all Abia indigenes to ‘’put hands on deck and support Ikpeazu to put Abia right’’.
Similarly, the state PDP Chairman, Sen. Emma Nwaka, said that the party expected victory, adding:‘’we worked for it.’’
In a telephone interview, Nwaka described the judgment as “well deserved’’.
However, the National Chairman, All Progressives Grand Alliance, Chief Victor Oye, told the party supporters in the state to remain calm, saying that the party did not expect justice from the tribunal.
Oye, who addressed the people at the party secretariat on Ikot Ekpene Road, Umuahia, described the judgment of the tribunal as ‘’a mockery of democracy’’.
He assured them that the party would leave no stone unturned to reclaim their mandate, adding that they would study the judgment and proceed to the Appeal Court to seek redress.
The state chairman of APGA, Rev. Augustine Ehiemere, said that the judgment had left Abia people mourning as the tribunal ‘’has murdered sleep in the state’’.
‘’But all hope is not lost,’’ he said, adding that the party was sure of victory and would appeal the judgment.
NAN reports that Umuahia was calm and quiet as people moved about their normal businesses amid tight security, as armed men mounted surveillance at strategic points in the state capital .
Meanwhile, a cross-section of tricycle operators otherwise called ‘Keke’ operators, artisans and traders expressed misgivings over the judgment.
Kingsley Ikoro, a vulcanizer on Aba Road, Umuahia, Onyebuchi Anyim, a keke operator, and Anthony Nwachukwu, said in separate interviews that the judgment had ‘’completely eroded’’ their belief in the judiciary.
‘’You can never get justice in the court,’’ Nwachukwu said, adding that Umuahia would have been agog today, if Otti had been declared winner.
NAN reports that the tribunal dismissed Dr. Alex Otti’s petition on grounds that he could not prove beyond doubt that he won the election.
Otti, who was APGA’s governorship candidate in the April general elections, went to the tribunal to challenge the declaration of Ikpeazu as the governor of the state by the Independent National Electoral Commission.