Abia Youths Reject Tribunal’s Sack of Abia Labour Party Lawmaker
Youths in Abia State under the aegis of the Ohafia Youth Initiative Movement (OYIM) have rejected the verdict of the National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia, which sacked Hon. Ibe Okwara Osonwa, the member representing Arochukwu/Ohafia federal constituency in the House of Representatives.
In a statement by its Director General, Comrade Ukpai Kalu, said that the tribunal’s judgment was an affront to democracy and the wishes of the people of the constituency.
The group said that the tribunal had erred in law by basing its judgment on Sections 77(2) and (3) of the Electoral Act, 2022, which deal with pre-election matters.
OYIM said that the candidacy of Hon. Osonwa under the Labour Party had never been in doubt and had been upheld by the Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia.
The group warned that the Ohafia clan would deploy every legitimate arsenal in its armoury to protect Hon. Osonwa’s mandate.
The statement read in part:
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“We have reviewed the judgment of the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sacking our son, Hon. Ibe Okwara Osonwa— as the member representing Arochukwu Ohafia Federal Constituency.
“We can only agree with Hon. Ibe Okwara Osonwa that the said judgment is not only perverse in all its ramifications, but also an affront on the established tenets of democracy and the wish and rights of the good people of the Arochukwu/Ohafia Federal Constituency in choosing their representative at the National Assembly.
“We reject the judgment of the tribunal in its entirety. Ohafia is not a weak clan, and we shall not watch anyone humiliate our son using the court. Our people freely gave their mandate to Hon Ibe Okwara Osonwa.
“Therefore, we reject the judgment and Daniel Okeke. We urge all lovers of peace, justice, equity and fairness to intervene now by restoring the mandate freely given to our son during the National Assembly elections.
“The tribunal cannot hinge its judgment on Sections 77(2) and (3) of the Electoral Act, 2022, an issue which the Appellate Courts have severally posited are not for the Election Tribunal, but remain in the domain of pre – election matters.
“The candidacy of Hon. Ibe Okwara Osonwa under the Labour Party had never been in doubt and was further reinforced by the Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia, in a well – considered judgment delivered on 4/12/2022 in Suit No.: FHC/UM/CS/129/2022.
“Our brothers from Ututu should respect our emotions and feelings by allowing our son and Ohafia Local Government Area enjoy the mandate given to him. Our silence is not a weakness”.
Recall that Chief Daniel Okeke of the All Progressives Congress, APC, had filed a petition seeking the nullification of Osonwa’s victory.
In it’s judgement, the tribunal had held that Osonwa was not validly nominated by the Labour Party to participate in the February 25 national assembly poll, hence his election was declared invalid.