Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia will on July 29 open his defence in the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia.
The Justice Lekan Ogunmoye-led panel announced this following the closure of the defence of the first respondent, the Independent National Electoral Commission on Thursday.
Counsel to Governor Ikpeazu, Igbeaku Evulukwu, had applied to be allowed till Monday next week for the defence to open its case.
Granting the application, the tribunal urged the respondents to ensure that they carried out their defence swiftly, stressing that time was of essence as the 180 days allotted for the matter was quickly running out.
Dr Alex Otti, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance in the March 9 election wants the tribunal to nullify the outcome of the polls.
Otti and his party are seeking the cancellation of the poll’s result in 14 of the 17 local government areas in Abia.
They alleged that the process that produced Governor Ikpeazu was marred with massive irregularities.
Newsmen report that the tribunal has till September to determine all pending matters before it.