A Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri on Thursday upheld the election of former Governor Rochas Okorocha as Senator representing Imo West senatorial district.
The chairman of the Appeal Court panel, R.A Ada, who read the judgement in a tension-soaked courtroom, dismissed the appeals filed by Senator Osita Izunaso of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Jones Onyereri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against Okorocha’s election. He said their appeals lacked merit.
The judge said the judgement of the tribunal, which upheld Okorocha’s election was in order.
The panel chairman said that the petitioners could not prove their allegations of violence, over-voting, mutilation of electoral results and hijacking of electoral officers against the respondent.
He said the petitioners could not prove the allegation of ‘duress’ as alleged by the returning officer of the election.
Okorocha had on February 23 defeated Onyereri and Izunaso but the returning officer alleged that he declared Okorocha winner under duress.
Okorocha, who applauded the decision, dedicated the victory to his two rivals.
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, the former governor of Imo state said that his Appeal Court victory is equally for the good people of Imo West Senatorial District and indeed, Imo people in general.
He said Imo people have remained supportive irrespective of their political affiliations, adding that the judgement has also added fibre to the nation’s democracy, because like the tribunal, the Appeal Court was able to detach blackmail from the home truth.