The President of the Court of Appeal has received a request from the Coalition for Social Justice and Good Governance (CSJGG) to form a panel to review the most recent ruling in the Abia Central senatorial seat dispute.
Following a protracted legal struggle between Darlington Nwokocha of the Labour Party, the Senate Minority Whip, and Augustine Akobundu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), this development has occurred. This request was communicated by coalition co-convener Mr. Ciroma Ahmed in a statement that was made public in Abuja on Monday. The case concerns the 2023 National Assembly elections, wherein Darlington Nwokocha and Augustine Akobundu contested for the senatorial district seat in Abia Central. Nwokocha was declared the winner, securing 92,116 votes, while Akobundu garnered 41,447 votes.
But Mr. Akobundu was not happy with the election results, so he decided to take legal action, which led to the case being heard by the Appeal Court. A tribunal chaired by Justice Biobele A. Georgewill issued a ruling on Saturday proclaiming Mr. Akobundu of the PDP the victor and stating that Mr. Nwokocha was unable to run in the elections.
Mr. Ciroma Ahmed also brought up a parallel case, in which the same Justice Georgewill-led panel upheld Ginger Onwusibe of the Labour Party as the representative for the Isi-ala Ngwa North/South federal constituency of Abia. Anthony Agbazuere of the PDP contested Onwusibe’s victory and brought the case to the appeal court. In their statement, the coalition called attention to a number of concerning elements, such as the appeal panel’s repeated reconstitutions and modifications in the case prior to Justice Georgewill’s appointment as panel chair. The Coalition for Social Justice and Good Governance has presented the following demands in light of these developments.
A judicial review panel should be swiftly established by the Court of Appeal President to carefully look into the circumstances underpinning the divergent rulings. The importance of the Abia Central senatorial seat dispute and the requirement for an open and unbiased evaluation of the court processes are highlighted by this request for a review. The results of this evaluation process will probably have a significant impact on how the Abia Central senatorial district is represented and, in turn, how the political climate in the area is generally understood. The parties are keeping a close eye on the developments in this high-stakes legal struggle while they await the judiciary’s response and next steps.