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Orji Kalu Ex-Gov says arrest of alleged electoral offenders has vindicated him

He also said that his agents signed results that were legitimate but declined to sign the ones they considered illegitimate.

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Abia former governor Orji Kalu said on Wednesday that the arrest and prosecution of scores of alleged electoral offenders during the rerun election in Abia north senatorial district has vindicated him.

Kalu, the candidate of the Progressive Peoples Alliance in the March 5 rerun election, said this during cross examination at the State and National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal in Umuahia.

The former governor was cross examined by Dr Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC),.

He said that the arrest and trial of many electoral officers and hoodlums in connection with alleged malpractices during the rerun proved his allegation that the exercise was marred by massive irregularities.

He said that the suspects were arrested by different security agencies, including personnel of the Department of State Service and police, "who investigated and charged the matter to court."

Kalu said, "My Lords, I did not agree with the INEC counsel that I did not prove the allegations.

"How can I agree with you that I failed to prove my allegations, when hoodlums who helped to rig the election against me were arrested and currently facing trial," he further said.

Kalu urged the tribunal to recompute the results and void the figures which were "illegitimately" alloted to the respondent, Sen. Mao Ohuabunwa, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

"Yes, votes won illegitimately by PDP should be voided by the tribunal," he said under cross-examination by Uzoukwu.

He further told the tribunal that some polling units and wards results, which were cancelled for reasons of irregularities, "were later smuggled in" during the final collation by suspected INEC officials.

Kalu, who was also cross-examined by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Counsel to Ohuabunwa, said that he did not join PDP in his petition because the Electoral Act did not stipulate so.

He also said that his agents signed results that were legitimate but declined to sign the ones they considered illegitimate.

Fielding questions from newsmen at the end of the proceeding, Kalu expressed the hope that the tribunal would be diligent in deciding the case.

Kalu, who was in the witness box from about 9.30am, when the tribunal commenced sitting, to about 4.45pm, when the cross-examination ended, said the development made him uncomfortable.

The tribunal chairman, Justice James Abundaga, adjourned further hearing to Thursday. 

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