The Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri, Imo State yesterday sacked Senator Mao Ohuabunwa of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election for the senatorial zone within 90 days.
Business mogul and candidate of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Orji Uzor Kalu, had challenged the judgment of the lower court which upheld Ohuabunwa’s election at the Appeal Court.
Delivering judgment on the case, Justice I. G. Mbaba stated that the lower court should have relied on certain documents for its judgment, which ought to have been filed, but were not.
Mbaba further noted that the senatorial poll was marred by high level of irregularities and that the results were mutilated.
The judge therefore ruled that: “It is better for all the candidates to go back for a fresh election which would be transparent, reliable and credible because the previous poll was marred by fraud and the results were mutilated.”
In his reaction, Kalu said: “This is victory for democracy aimed at the restoration of the people’s will, which was trampled upon through the abuse of fleeting power by those who thought they could mortgage the conscience of Abians. “What the Appeal Court has succeeded in doing is the liberation of Abians from the shackles of authoritarianism and associated power of rascality.
“Abians and I are now going to win, by God’s grace, by a landslide margin much more than we did in the last election, whose outcome was brazenly manipulated against the wish of our people.
“This same thing happened in 2011 when my mandate was recklessly upturned by persons who had special relationships with the immediate-past president of the country.
“We are ready for the rerun. I congratulate the Appeal Court on this decision. It is a testament to the robust vibrancy of our judiciary, which remains the last hope of the oppressed. This, again, is victory for Nigerians generally, Abians particularly and democracy.”