The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Monday, released the details of the judgement which ordered the sack of a former Pro-Chancellor and the Chairman of the University of Nigeria Nsukka in Enugu State, Mr Ikechi Emenike.
The court had on Friday, November 11, 2022, ordered Emenike’s sack and affirmed the immediate past Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uche Ogah as the authentic All Progressives Congress gubernatorial candidate in Abia State for the 2023 general elections.
The All Progressives Congress had in May 26, 2022, conducted parallel primary elections in Abia State which, saw the emergence of Ogah and Emenike as governorship candidates in Abia State for the 2023 main elections respectively
Despite exchange of outbursts by majority of critical party leaders, stakeholders and members across Local Government Areas in the state, the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC submitted names and details of Mr Ikechi Emenike, party leadership submitted the names and details of Mr Ikechi Emenike as its Abia gubernatorial Candidate to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Against this backdrop, Uche Ogah approached an Abuja High Court to challenge the eligibility and nomination of Emenike by the leadership of the APC, the leadership of the party submitted names and details of Ikechi Emenike to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
However, a released copy of the verdict by Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako which sacked Mr Ikechi Emenike who was a respondent in the lawsuit filed by Ogah, made available to journalists in Umuahia, the Abia state capital on Monday, held that the indirect primary election which produced Emenike was in total disobedience to a letter forwarded by the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress to INEC that it would adopt a direct mode primary election in the state.
According to the court, “others states where APC pointed out that it would adopt the direct mode of primary election include Osun and Benue.
Justice Nyako in her judgement also held it was alien how APC notified INEC of its decision to adopt the direct primary mode in the state and abandoned it by according recognition to a candidate, Emenike who emerged from a purported indirect primary, saying such is invalid.
Citing the letter addressed to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and signed by the National Chairman of APC, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu and the Secretary, Iyiola Omisore, for which affidavit was also deposed, Justice Nyako wondered why a purported indirect primary still went ahead.
The High Court further held the direct primary election of May 26th and 27th May 2022, which produced Ogah, a former Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development was the only valid governorship primary election conducted by APC in Abia and monitored by INEC, report of which was endorsed by the Resident Electoral Commissioner in charge of Abia State. Sponsored She said,
“Flowing from the above, I also hold that Plaintiff (Uche Ogah) having emerged as the 2nd Defendant’s (APC) Governorship candidate from the primaries conducted by the 2nd Defendant and monitored by the 4th Defendant (INEC) as shown in Exhibit INEC 1, the 2nd (APC) Defendant is under obligation to forward the Plaintifiř’s name to the 4th Defendant as its candidate for the 2023 Abia state Governorship election.
“Consequently, I find that the submission of the name of the 1st Defendant (Emenike) by the 2nd Defendant instead of the name of the Plaintiff to the 4th Defendant is wrongful, unlawful, null and void and is hereby set aside. “It is hereby Ordered as follows:
“That by virtue of Section 84(4) of the Electoral Act, 2022 the direct primaries held by the 2nd Defendant/and monitored by the 4th Defendant on 26th May, 2022 was in substantial compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act and therefore lawful and valid.
“That having conducted direct primaries in line with Section 84 of the Electoral Act and same having been monitored by the 4th Defendant, it was no longer open to the 2nd Defendant to conduct any other primary and in particular the purported indirect primaries that produced 1st Defendant as the proposed candidate of the 2nd Defendant for the Abia State 2023 Gubernatorial elections.
“The 2nd Defendant shall forthwith forward the name of the Plaintiff to the 4th Defendant as its duly nominated candidate for the 2023 Abia State Governorship elections.
“The 4th Defendant shall substitute the name of the wee wee èe 1st Defendant earlier forwarded by the 2nd Defendant with the name of the Plaintiff as the duly nominated candidate of the 2nd Defendant for the Abia State 2023 Governorship elections,” the court ruled.
Recall that Ogah had on 26th of May 2022, emerged as the Abia governorship standard bearer of the All Progressives Congress in the recently-concluded gubernatorial primary elections for the forthcoming 2023 general elections in Abia state.
He was declared the winner of the just concluded gubernatorial primary elections after he scored 141,952 votes to beat his closest rival, Paul Ikonne who scored 27,054.
Other gubernatorial aspirants includes, Ikechi Emenike who polled 9,446, Emeka Atuma with 7,429, Obinna Oriaku with 5,553, Alex Otti scored 2,41, and Daniel Eke who got 1,953 at the keenly contested direct primaries.