The immediate past minority leader of the sixth Abia State House of Assembly and the All Progressives Congress candidate for Bende South constituency seat in the last 2019 general election, Hon. Uchenna Okogbuo, has insisted that the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, hijacked the March 9 State Assembly election conducted in Bende South.
Okogbuo revealed this during cross-examination by the Counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, O.O. Nkume, before Justice A. L. Ogumoye-led three man panel of the State House of Assembly and National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Umuahia, the state capital, at the weekend.
Recall that the APC candidate, Okogbuo had filed a petition at the tribunal, challenging Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) declaration of Chief Emmanuel Chinedum, (respondent), as the winner of the March 9 State Assembly election conducted in Bende South.
While being cross-examined, Okogbuo claimed that the State House of Assembly election was marred by excessive irregularities, particularly in the polling units at Okpoton ndi Ekugo, Okogbuo, Ugwunkpa, Umuimenyi and Itumbuzor.
The ex-lawmaker also told the court that the election was invalid and did not comply with electoral guidelines as spelt out by the nation’s electoral act.
After the cross-examination, counsel to the petitioner, Chidozie Ogunji pleaded with the honorable tribunal, over the inability of the star witness (name withheld), to appear during the sitting for cross examination, over ill health.
Ogunji pleaded further that he should be given opportunity to produce the star witness in the next adjourned date.
The tribunal agreed with the petitioner’s counsel pleading, and however, adjourned its sitting to July 25 and 26, for cross-examination of the star witness and closure of the case by the petitioner.
Newsmen learnt that eight witnesses of the petitioner had earlier been cross examined by the respondent’s counsel.