Ohafia Youth Initiative Movement (OYIM), a political group, has rejected the sacking of Ibe Okwara Osonwa, a member of the House of Representatives representing Arochukwu /Ohafia Federal Constituency of Abia State.
The tribunal, on Monday, sacked Osonwa, who was elected on the platform of the Labour Party (LP).
In a unanimous ruling, a three-member panel of the tribunal which conducted its proceedings in Umuahia, held that Osonwa was not validly nominated by the Labour Party to contest the Arochukwu/Ohafia Federal Constituency election that held on February 25.
Osonwa’s challenger from the All Progressives Congress (APC), Daniel Okeke, filed the petition.
Reacting to the verdict, the group in a statement by its Director General, Comrade Ukpai Kalu, warned that any attempt to steal the mandate of Ibe Okwara Osonwa shall be resisted by the Ohafia clan of the Federal Constituency.
The group expressed shocked over the judgement of the tribunal, adding that the decision of the Justices did not reflect the position of the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the wishes of the people of Arochukwu/Ohafia Federal Constituency, who freely gave their mandate to Hon. Ibe Okwara Osonwa.
“We have reviewed the judgement of the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sacking our son, Hon. Ibe Okwara Osonwa— as the member representing Arochukwu Ohafia Federal Constituency. We can only agree with Hon. Ibe Okwara Osonwa that the said judgement is not only perverse in all its ramifications, but also an affront on the established tenets of democracy and the wish and rights of the good people of the Arochukwu/Ohafia Federal Constituency in choosing their representative at the National Assembly.
“We reject the judgement of the tribunal in its entirety. Ohafia is not a weak clan— and we shall not watch anyone humiliate our son using the court. Our people freely gave their mandate to Hon Ibe Okwara Osonwa; Therefore, we reject the judgement and Daniel Okeke. We urge all lovers of peace, justice, equity and fairness to intervene now by restoring the mandate freely given to our son during the National Assembly elections.
The tribunal cannot hinge its judgment on Sections 77(2) and (3) of the Electoral Act, 2022, an issue which the Appellate Courts have severally posited are not for the Election Tribunal, but remain in the domain of pre – election matters.
The candidacy of Hon. Ibe Okwara Osonwa under the Labour Party had never been in doubt and was further reinforced by the Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia, in a well – considered judgment delivered on 4/12/2022 in Suit No.: FHC/UM/CS/129/2022.
“Our brothers from Ututu should respect our emotions and feelings by allowing our son and Ohafia Local Government Area enjoy the mandate given to him. Our silence is not a weakness,” the statement said.