Former Migori gubernatorial candidate Ochillo Ayacko says he has withdrawn the case challenging Okoth Obado's victory in the August 2017 poll, giving the clearest signal yet of his intention to contest for border county’s Senate seat.
Mr Ochillo on Wednesday confirmed that his legal team had written to Mr Obado's lawyers notifying them of the withdrawal of the appeal lodged at the Court of Appeal.
"I have decided to withdraw the petition. My lawyers have already sent a letter to Mr Obado's lawyers communicating my intention. The same letter has been copied to the Court of Appeal," said Mr Ochillo.
He said he decided to withdraw the petition out of respect for opposition chief Raila Odinga, who intervened in the legal battle.
During the burial of Migori Senator Ben Oluoch's, Mr Odinga called on Mr Ayacko and Mr Obado to bury their political hatchet and embrace handshake.
Following the political truce, Mr Ayacko had agreed to withdraw the appeal he filed after High Court upheld Mr Obado's win.
"I decided to do this in respect to right honourable Raila Odinga, who had appealed to us to bury our hatchet," Mr Ochillo said.
Mr Clinton Oballa, the communication officer in Mr Obado's office, confirmed that the governor is already aware of the move.
"We received the letter yesterday and it has been forwarded to the governor's lawyers," he said.
This development comes after the IEBC announced that the Migori senate by-election will be held on October 8, 2018, with Mr Ayacko tipped to be the main challenger.
But the actual withdrawal of the case will only happen if the Court of Appeal agrees to the request of the petitioner.
The Migori Senate seat fell vacant following the death of Mr Okello, who succumbed to throat cancer last month.
The seat has already attracted scores of candidates who are eyeing the ticket Orange Democratic Movement Party, the party with the largest following in Nyanza.
Political pundits say anyone who bags the ticket will have an easy ride to victory.
The party has already hinted at giving a direct ticket to a preferred candidate.
In a statement released on Monday, Dr Robert Arunga, the Orange party's National Elections Board chairperson, said the mode of nomination will be decided by the party at a later date.
"In respect of Migori senatorial seat, the National Executive Committee shall determine the mode of nomination of its candidate in accordance with Rule 18.2 of Election and Nomination Rules. The decision of NEC shall be communicated before July 27, 2018,” read the statement in part
Various party sources have revealed that the party is keen to give a direct ticket to Mr Ayacko as a dividend of the political truce between him and Mr Obado.
Mr Ochillo, however, exuded confidence of clinching the ticket if nominations are called.
"I am ready to fight it out for the ticket. Even if it means going to the primaries, I know I have all it takes to win the ticket," said Mr Ochillo.
Others eyeing the Orange party ticket are former speaker Gordon Oluoch, Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers Migori secretary Samwel Orwa Jasolo, businessman Eddy Oketch, former Suna East MP John Dache Pessa and high school teacher Kennedy Makasembo.