Abia North Rerun: Tribunal concludes adoption of written addresses, promises to communicate judgment date to parties

The Abia North
senatorial rerun Election petition tribunal sitting in Umuahia,  yesterday
concluded the adoption of  their final written addresses, and
informed parties in the case that they would be communicated on the date of  judgment
when they must have gone through their submissions.
James Abundaga, Chairman of the tribunal opened the sitting by calling for the
motion for the addresses and the adoption of the written addresses.
A member of the
team of  lawyers to the 1st Respondent, embattled
Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, Mr Bolarinwa Awojola opened the matter  by
urging the tribunal to strike out the petition of the petitioner on the ground
of incompetence.
Awojola  said
that he was opposing  the petition on 11 grounds contained in the
written address they  submitted to the tribunal.

But counsel to
Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, Kelvin Nwufo (SAN) who took the issues raised in the
addresses of the respondents point by point opposed the application with a
5-paragraph counter affidavit accompanied by rules of the tribunal.
 Nwufo  argued
that the cases cited by the 1st Respondents counsel were not
applicable in the instant case,  stating  that the position
of paragraph 4 (7) of the Electoral Act relied upon by the 1st Respondents
counsel had been deleted by the amendment in the electoral Act as shown in
section 38 by the Electoral Amendment Act of  2010.
He submitted  that  “the
application which is hinged principally on paragraph 4 (7)  of the
Electoral Act should be struck out and dismissed as incompetent,”
Counsel to
INEC, Mr Anagha Kalu, also urged the tribunal to strike out the petitioners
case on the ground that the evidence of the Forensic expert was based on
hearsay and could not be relied upon.

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But Nwufo
opposed it stating  that the application on the ground that the
forensic witness who was appointed and trained by INEC could not be criticized
and condemned by the electoral body.
He said: that
the “2nd Respondent which appointed and trained PW 18 cannot be
allowed in law to benefit from his shortcoming.”     
In his remarks,
the Chairman of the tribunal said at the end of the adoption of the addresses
that the panel was happy with the conduct of counsels to the parties.
 “We will
adjourn to prepare the documents and communicate the date to you. Somebody must
win, somebody must lose, but we will do our best before men and the Almighty
God. The important thing is that you are sure that those adjudicating are of
utmost sincerity.”
Speaking to
newsmen at the end of the session, counsels to Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, Chief Kelvin
Nwufo (SAN) and Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, Mike Onyeka, expressed satisfaction with
the conduct of the tribunal sitting .
They both
expressed hope that judgment would be delivered in their favour.
Nwufo , however
noted that going by the life span of the tribunal the judgment would be
delivered before September 10, 2016.
It could be
recalled that Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, former Governor of Abia State and candidate of
the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) in the Abia North Senatorial dragged the
PDP candidate Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, who was declared winner of the Abia North
election by INEC to the tribunal, asking to be declared winner of the rerun
having scored the highest number of votes.