By Shola Akingboye, 19th July 2021
Courts sitting in Anambra have directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to publish the names of two governorship candidates of APGA and PDP for the November 6 election without further delay.
They are: Senator Ugochukwu Uba of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Prof Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Chukwuma Soludo, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), was reinstated as the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) ahead of the governorship election in the state.
Soludo who belongs to the Victor Oye-led faction of APGA had secured 740 votes to defeat Ezenwankwo Christopher who polled 41 votes, while ThankGod Ibe had four votes, and Okolo Chibuzor got seven votes.
But in the list published on July 16, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) picked Michael Umeoji over Soludo as the standard-bearer for APGA.
INEC said it based its decision on a court orders.
Festus Okoye, INEC’s commissioner for information and voter education, also told TheCable that Musa Ubale, judge of a high court in Jigawa state, had passed judgment in suit JDU/022/21, upholding the suspension of Victor Oye and affirming Jude Okeke as the party’s national chairman on June 30, 2021.
Okoye also cited another court order in suit number FCT/DW/CV/133/21 in which Bello Kawu, a judge at the federal capital territory (FCT) high court in Kubwa, on June 28, ordered INEC to monitor the primary election of the Jude Okeke faction and comply with the result.
Umeoji won the primaries in Okeke’s faction.
But delivering judgment on Monday, Chukwudi Okaa, presiding judge, said the other parties in the suit, comprising Jude Okeke, Edozie Njoku, and Chukwuma Umeoji, were “meddlesome interlopers”.
The judge, therefore, affirmed Oye as the national chairman of the party, and ordered INEC to recognise Soludo as the APGA governorship candidate for Anambra.
The Court also ordered INEC to remove the name of Hon Chukwuma Umeoji already published and ordered him to stop parading himself as candidate of APGA.
The court reaffirmed Victor Oye as the indisputable National chairman of APGA and ordered Edozie Njoku and Jude Okeke to stop parading themselves as National chairmen of APGA.
Meanwhile, in another separate judgments on Monday in Awka, Justice Obiora Nwabunike, who presided over the case involving Uba, Valentine Ozigbo and the PDP, said the party erred by using what it called ‘Super delegates’ without vacating the Abuja Court order.
“With the evidence before me and having heard from parties involved in the matter, I rule that Ugochukwu Uba is the duly elected candidate of PDP.
“It’s not for nothing that court judges are called my lords. When a court makes a pronouncement, it must be obeyed no matter how foolish or ugly, it must be obey.
“So, it was wrong for the PDP to go ahead to conduct the primary election at the Dora Akunyili Women’s Development Centre that produced Valentine Ozigbo, with what they called super delegates against a live judgement of a court without overturning the judgement.
“That action cannot be vitiated or mitigated by the argument adduced by defence counsel that party primaries are internal affairs of political parties.
“And I order that Ugochukwu Uba’s name should be enlisted by the INEC without further delay and the defendants should pay a cost of 10 million naira to the applicant,” Justice Nwabunike said.