Abia North Senate: Nnamdi Iro Oji Reacts To Verdict Upholding Orji Uzor, Insists He’s An Ex-Convict.

by Amos Kalu

Election Inconclusive…

Press Statement on the Judgment of the National Assembly and State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia, Abia State over Abia North Senatorial District.

It is public knowledge that judgment was delivered in my petition No EPT/AB/SEN/6/2023 filed in protest over the declaration of Orji Uzor Kalu of the APC as the winner of the Abia North senatorial election conducted by INEC on 25th day of February, 2023.

At no time before, after the election and even up to the court proceedings did I consider myself moving into a tea party, as I have always known that my opponents will exhibit all manner of desperate action in their bid to truncate the popular wish and desire of the Abia North Senatorial District constituents to discard the old politician that have held them down for several years.

Nnamdi Iro Oji Opotoyom

The national election of 25th February, 2023 was to everybody’s knowledge inconclusive as elections were not held in Isiama Ohafia ward, Okamu Ohafia ward, Agborji Abiriba ward and some other poling units in Arochukwu/Ohafia Local Government. The non – holding of election in these aforementioned areas was confirmed by relevant INEC officials including the Ohafia LGA electoral officer and the Abia State electoral commissioner. Several press statements were made where this INEC officials and even the INEC national chairman confirmed INEC logistic difficulties in holding elections in the affected areas with a promise that elections will be held on a date to be announced.

Surprisingly, INEC proceeded couple hours after this press statement to announce Orji Uzor Kalu of the APC as the winner of the election. The declaration of Orji Uzor Kalu of the APC was made despite the fact that the margin of lead as declared by INEC between him and myself was a paltry 3000 votes, whereas the total number of registered voters in the areas where election did not hold were more than 50,000 voters.

It is elementary that where the total number of registered voters in areas where elections were not conducted is higher than the margin of lead between the first and runner up, the Court would direct INEC to conduct elections in those areas where election did not hold in order to determine the candidate with the highest number of votes. This is the scenario we find ourselves in the Abia North Senatorial election and equally the basis for my demand at the Tribunal that election be held in those areas in order to determine the actual winner of the elections. The claim of IPOB disturbance on election day in those areas by my opponents is not only mischievous but false and unfounded. I can state categorically that there is no report of IPOB disturbance in any part of Igbo land in the course of the 2023 General Elections. The reason for the non holding of the election in some areas of Abia North Senatorial district as stated by INEC remains shortage of personnel and vehicles to convey election materials to relevant polling units.

The second and more important ground of my Petition to the Election Tribunal was and remains that Orji Uzor Kalu is not qualified to contest for any political office as a result of his having been convicted of a criminal offence. It is public knowledge and never in dispute that Orji Uzor Kalu was in the year 2019 in Suit No FHC/ABJ/CR/56/2007 convicted for the offence of stealing, forgery, money laundering etc by then Justice Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos and sentenced to some terms of imprisonment. That trial and conviction being criminal in nature and personal to Orji Uzor Kalu remains unchallenged till date by him and has never been appealed.

There is no Appellate judgment anywhere both at the Court of Appeal and even at the Supreme Court that has ever discharged Orji Uzor Kalu of that conviction. Even on his own admission, in a charge filed by EFCC against him and some other persons in 2001, he admitted on oath that he was in fact convicted and served some terms of imprisonment and therefore should not be arraigned or tried for the second time.

The Abia Election Tribunal’s finding that Orji Uzor Kalu’s conviction has been quashed or set aside by the Supreme Court is untrue, fallacious as there is no evidence whatsoever showing any pronouncement by any court of law to that effect. The only appeal on the judgment of the criminal trial conducted by Justice Idris was the appeal filed by Jones Udeogu and that appeal remains personal to the said Jones Udeogu and to no other person. The law is very clear that anyone who has ever been convicted for a criminal offence or fraud cannot contest any election for a period of not less than 10years from the date of conviction.

In the light of all the above, I have advised my Solicitors to take up this appeal to the Court of Appeal, where I am hopeful that not only that justice will be done to my petition but that the Court of Appeal Justices knowing that their pronouncement will not only enrich our electoral jurisprudence but will equally guide lower courts in handling matters of this nature.

I urge my supporters and electorate to remain calm, prayerful and hopeful that justice will definitely be done in this matter. I remain resolute in my determination to retrieve and actualize the yearnings of the good people of Abia North Senatorial District in having me at the red chambers as their Senator.

Dated this 14th day of September, 2023.

Nnamdi Iro Oji

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