By Leonard Okachie
Enugu – Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia will on July 29, open his defence before the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia.
The Justice Lekan Ogunmoye-led panel announced this on Thursday following the closure of the defence of the first respondent, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in a petition filed by All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and its candidate Dr Alex Otti.
The petitioners are asking the tribunal to nullify the outcome of the March 9 Governorship election which produced Ikpeazu as governor.
At the Thursday hearing, Mrs Igbeaku Evulukwu Counsel to Ikpeazu, applied to be allowed till Monday to open the defence.
Granting the application, the tribunal urged the respondents to ensure that they conclude their defence swiftly, stressing that time was of essence as the 180 days allotted for the matter was running out.
Otti and his party are seeking the cancellation of the poll’s results in 14 of the 17 local government areas in Abia.
They alleged that the process that produced Gov. Ikpeazu was marred with massive irregularities.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the tribunal has till September to determine all pending matters before it.