Abia state governor, Okezie Ikpeazu opened his defence with 13 witnesses at the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia.
Gov Ikpeazu is the second respondent in the petition filed by the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Dr Alex Otti, challenging his victory as the winner of the March 9 gubernatorial election.
The witnesses, Local Government Collation Agents for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presented by Gov Ikpeazu, dismisses reports by APGA alleging massive irregularities at the poll. Messrs Hagler Okorie, Lucky Akabuike and Emeka Stanley claim the governorship election was free, fair, credible and peaceful.
They stated that electoral laws were not violated, disagreed with the petitioners’ position over the process of voters’ accreditation during the election.
The petitioners insist that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Guidelines allows only the use of Smart Card Reader as the only means of accreditation for the election.
“In instances where the card reader failed, Electoral Act which is superior to INEC Guidelines, allows the use of Voters Register for manual accreditation of voter,” Witnesses said.
At 5:44 p.m, the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Lekan Ogumoye adjourned the case to Tuesday after stormy session for continuation of hearing.
Alex Otti, APGA demands cancellation of the governorship election results in 15 of the 17 local government areas of the state, alleging that the election was ruined by massive violation of electoral laws and INEC Guidelines.