Abia: Lawmaker-elect, Uzosike speaks on paying opponent to withdraw petition

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A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the member-elect for Umuahia South constituency of Abia State, Barrister Jerry Uzosike, has taken a swipe at notable leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state over their claims that Mrs. Phina Kanu, the APC House of Assembly candidate for Umuahia south was induced to withdraw her petition against him (Uzosike).

DAILY POST had reported that a three-man panel of the House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia, and headed by Justice Cornelius Akintoye, struck out the petition filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for Umuahia South constituency, Mrs. Phina Kanu, against the declaration of Barrister Jerry Uzosike, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, as winner of the March 9 House of Assembly election conducted in the constituency.

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Counsel to the petitioner (Kanu), Barrister G. Omenihu, during the court sitting, presented a motion of notice to withdraw the petition pursuant to section 29 of the electoral act as amended. The motion was supported with six paragraphs.

“We are relying on the paragraphs. So, we urge the honorable tribunal to hands off the applications filed before it challenging the victory of the respondent (Uzosike).”

But, speaking with newsmen at a press conference on Wednesday, in Umuahia, Uzosike said, “Nobody paid her to withdraw his petition against me. You may recall that the APC Abia leadership did not go to the tribunal with her. It is only her that sued challenging my victory. She did not even join APC in that suit. If you look at the matter, APC was not part of suit.

“So, it is wrong for the opposition APC who ordinarily did not go to the tribunal to challenge the results or who did not ought to join her in the petition to now turn back, accusing her (Kanu) of being induced with money. Mrs. Kanu went to court against me over the outcome of the election which I won clearly. And she went to court.”

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The lawmaker-elect added, “APC failed the election woefully. Now, having approached the court, which is her right, some well meaning individuals in Umuahia South Local Government mediated. My party has replied. INEC has replied. As at the moment of the withdrawal, I have not been served. I have already paid my lawyers to start the fireworks. So, the woman decided on her own to withdraw her petition.”

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