Abia State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia has dismissed the petition filed by the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the April 2014 elections, Chief Chinenye Nyerere Ayim, against Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The tribunal dismissed the petition, citing negligence and lack of diligence in prosecution on the part of the petitioners as the reason.
Counsel to the respondents, including Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, his party, the PDP and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)had told the tribunal that neither the petitioners nor their counsels were in court and that no letter was sent by them to explain their absence.
Citing relevant sections of the Electoral Act, counsel to INEC, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu, prayed the Tribunal to apply the mandatory provisions of the relevant section of the law, which he said mandated the tribunal to dismiss the petition because the petitioners failed to appear for the matter.
PDP Counsel, Mr. Henry Balaogu, observed that the petitioners and their counsels were in the court on the last day of adjournment and were aware of the yesterday’s sitting but deliberately chose to be absent and urged the Tribunal to strike the matter out.
Also, counsel to the 5th and 6th Respondents, Mike Onyeka concurred and urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition, saying it was clear that the petitioners have lost interest in the matter.
The Tribunal Chairman, Justice Usman Bwala, while dismissing the petition cited relevant sections of the Electoral Act which he said the petitioners failed to comply with in the prosecution of the matter.