By Special Correspondent
A chieftain of the Labour Party in Abia State and the star witness for Mr Alex Otti and Labour Party, Chief Acho Obioma on Wednesday, 16th August, 2023, confirmed to the Abia State Election Petition Tribunal that the primary election purportedly held by Labour Party in Abia State was a nullity.
The Labour Party Chieftain confirmed this in court under cross-examination in the case brought by High Chief Ikechi Emenike, the APC governorship candidate, challenging the declaration of Mr Alex Otti of Labour Party as winner of the 2023 governorship election in the state.
Chief Acho Obioma who was the Director General of Abia State Labour Party Campaign Organisation, testified as the second witness on the schedule of witnesses of Mr Alex Otti who is the 3rd Respondent in the matter, and agreed before the court that the document he tendered as evidence covering the purported primary election has no value in law.
He tendered before the tribunal a copy of a letter which he said was Labour Party membership waiver issued to Alex Otti, copy of a letter written by Alex Otti notifying the APC of his resignation, and a report authored by one Mr Obinna of Abia State INEC, Umuahia, claiming to have monitored a primary election purportedly conducted by the Abia State Labour Party.
However, while being cross-examined, the witness admitted that the document which was supposed to be the report of the purported Labour Party primary election in Abia State had neither a date nor a signature thereby rendering it useless before the law and the purported primary election a nullity.
In an earlier submission by a witness subpoenaed by the court and detailed by INEC Headquarters, Abuja, to witness for it in the matter brought against Mr Alex Otti’s declaration as winner of the March 18 2023 governorship election in Abia State by PDP’s Chief Okey Ahiwe, Barr Hadizat Abubakar of the electoral body’s Election Party and Monitoring Department, had tendered certified true copies from the national headquarters of INEC, confirming that Abia State Labour Party did not submit its membership register and that INEC did not monitor its governorship primary election as required by law.
She also affirmed that any document presented to the tribunal from INEC in evidence must be authenticated and certified by the institution’s headquarters in Abuja and not by staff of its state offices.
To put a further dent to Alex Otti’s case, his first scheduled witness, who was Labour Party’s collation agent at Obingwa LGA during the election and the third scheduled witness, were surprisingly absent.
High Chief Ikechi Emenike and All Progressives Congress (APC) brought the suit challenging the declaration of Mr Alex Otti as winner of the 18th March, 2023 governorship election in Abia State and has INEC as 1st Respondent; Labour Party, as 2nd Respondent; Mr. Alex Otti as 3rd Respondent; PDP as 4th Respondent; Chief Ambrose Okechukwu Ahiwe as 5th Respondent; YPP as 6th Respondent; and Hon. Chima Enyinnaya Nwafor as 7th Respondent.
Recall that PDP’s Chief Okey Ahiwe is also challenging the declaration of Mr Alex Otti as winner of the March 18, 2023, Abia State governorship election at the tribunal.