Sunday Agbo, Abakaliki
Ebonyi state governorship election petition tribunal yesterday quashed the petition filed by the All Progressive Congress, APC, governorship candidate in the just concluded general election in the state, Senator Sunny Ogbuoji against the election of Governor David Umahi of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
The action of the tribunal followed a motion for withdrawal of the petition by Mr Ogbuoji through his counsel Michael Odo at the resumption of hearing on Wednesday at the tribunal room, Judiciary headquarters complex Abakiliki.
The motion for the withdrawal of the petition by counsel to the petitioner was not opposed by counsel to Governor Umahi, Okechukwu Otukwu.
Similarly, counsels to the People’s Democratic Party PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, did not object to the motion.
The tribunal chairman ,Justice A. Abdulkarim after listening to the motion was left with no other choice but to strike out the petition and awarded a cost of N100,000 against the petitioner in favour of the 1st Respondent.
It will be recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC had on the 11th of March 2019 declared the PDP governorship candidate, governor David Umahi as the winner of the governorship election in the state while Senator Ogbuorji approached the tribunal challenging the outcome of the election.
Governor Umahi scored a total of 393,343 votes cast across the 13 local governments in the state to defeat his closest rival Senator Ogbuorji of the All Progressive Congress (APC) who scored a total of 81703 votes cast to place a distant second.
Reacting to the court ruling, the Senator Representing, Ebonyi Central Senatorial zone, Senator Obinna Ogba described the ruling as appropriate and victory for democracy adding that the ruling will give the governor time to concentrate and continue his developmental projects in the state.
Senator Ogba noted that the People’s Democratic Party had a landslide victory during the polls noting that approaching the tribunal to challenge the election and victory of the party was uncalled for and urged the opposition party to join hands with the ruling PDP to develop the state and create a conducive environment for investors.
Senator Ogba who congratulated the governor for the victory at the tribunal commended him for his policies and programmes that has lifted the state from its under-development to the fastest growing state in the country.