The Abia State Election Petition Tribunal continued its hearing of the matter brought before it by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Okey Ahiwe challenging the declaration of Mr Alex Otti of Labour Party as winner of the March 18 2023 governorship election in Abia State.
At the resumed hearing on Friday, 11th, August, 2023, the Petitioners called three (3) Witness PW18, PW19 and PW20, all from Umuahia South LGA.
The Three Witnesses relied on their written depositions bothered on complaints arising from obvious disparity between the results obtained from the polling units and what was announced by INEC, and adopted same as their evidence before the Tribunal. They told the Tribunal that apart from suppression of votes, INEC officials deliberately bypassed the use of BVAS for accreditation in a number of polling units to aid their irregularities against the PDP and that voters suffered both intimidation and violence by agents of Labour Party in Umuahia South LGA.
In a bid to establish that there were massive irregularities in the results declared by INEC in Eleven (11) Local Government Areas of the state namely Aba North, Aba South, Arochukwu, Bende, Ikwuano, Isuikwuato, Obingwa, Ohafia, Osisioma, Umuahia North, Umuahia South and Umunneochi, the Petitioner’s lead Counsel, Prof Paul Ananaba SAN, sought the leave of the Tribunal to tender INEC’s Certified True Copy of Voter’s Register for the 11 LGAS, after the application for the motion was granted.
The Petitioners also made known their intention to tender the Certified True Copy of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) Report and the Certified True Copy of the Certificate of Compliance with Section 84 of Evidence Act 2011 by INEC in respect of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for the March 18 2023 governorship election in Abia State.
Although lawyers to the Respondents objected to the admissibility of the documents they opted to state their reasons in their written addresses. Meanwhile, Tribunal granted parties leave to meet tomorrow, August 12, 2023, by 11 am to reconcile marking of the Petitioner’s evidence.
The Matter was later adjourned to the 17th and 18th of August, 2023 for continuation of hearing.
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