The demonstrators, under the leadership of Abia State House of Assembly’s Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Austin Meregini, strongly contested the court’s ruling and demanded a reconsideration.
Abia witnessed a protest on Monday in its capital, Umuahia, as members of the Labour Party took to the city’s main thoroughfares to express their discontent regarding the removal of Senator Darlington Nwokocha (LP), who served as the Senate Minority Whip and represented Abia Central, by the Appeal Court.
In a decision rendered on Saturday, the Court of Appeal in Lagos removed Senator Nwokocha from his position and declared Colonel Austin Akobundu (retired), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, as the victor of the February 25 senatorial election in Abia Central district.
The court’s ruling sparked protests in Abia, with demonstrators led by the Deputy Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Austin Meregini, vehemently rejecting the judgment and demanding a reconsideration. They also called for a thorough investigation into the panel responsible for the judgment.
The protesters, donned in black attire, raised placards with various inscriptions, such as “Judicial impunity must stop,” “We voted for Darlington Nwokocha and not Col. Austin Akobundu,” and “Darlington’s mandate must be recovered.”
Addressing the crowd of protesters and party supporters, Mr. Ceekay Igara, the LP Chairman in the state, criticized the judgment as an assault on democracy and a theft of the people’s mandate. He argued that the judiciary should not be allowed to overturn the people’s decisions on technicalities.
Igara expressed bewilderment over the panel’s decision to uphold the election of Chief Ginger Onwusibe, who faced a similar case, in the Isiala Ngwa North and South Federal Constituency. He called for transparency and requested access to the judgment’s details for further legal evaluation.
Igara emphasized that the party would not permit the constituents of Abia Central to have their mandate stolen through irregular means and appealed to democracy supporters to protect Nigeria’s democracy from the ambitions of unscrupulous politicians.
He also urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to prevent greedy politicians from undermining Nigeria’s democracy for their personal gains.