The Court of Appeal in Owerri on Thursday affirmed the election of Orji Kalu, senator representing Abia North Senatorial District.
In a unanimous decision, the court held that the lower tribunal, which upturned Kalu’s election, erred on several counts.
Delivering the judgement, the judge, R. A. Adah, said the grounds upon which the election tribunal predicated its verdict were not tenable in law.
He said the tribunal’s decision to grant the petitioner’s reliefs, which he did not ask for, was unacceptable in law.
Addressing reporters at the end of the judgment, counsel for Kalu, Perfect Okorie, said “the relief the petitioner, Sen. Mao Ohuabunwa, asked for was for the nullification of the election in Bende and Isiukwuato.
Okorie said the tribunal “granted strange reliefs and nullified elections in some polling units in Ohafia and Arochukwu.”
The appeal court further said that Ohuabunwa literally dumped his avalanche of documents on the tribunal without calling witnesses to tie the documents to his case.
It maintained that in law, the petitioner must establish proof by bringing witnesses, who would tie the documents to the substance of the case.
Maduka Okoro, media aide to Kalu, described the judgement of the Appeal Court as “victory for democracy and the people of Abia in general.”
Okoro said in Umuahia the judgement “was greeted by wide celebration in all parts of Abia”, where Kalu was governor from 1999 to 2007.
He said: “the verdict sparked off jubilation in Igbere, Kalu’s community in Bende Local Government Area, the entire Abia north, including Mao’s Arochukwu and Abia generally.
“It is instructive to note that as former governor, Kalu made positive impact in the lives of the people and every community in Abia.”