A Federal High Court in Awka, Anambra State, on Thursday nullified the election of Emeka Ibeh as chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
Uzochukwu Onyekwere, a member of the party in the state and a chairmanship aspirant, challenged the May 19, 2018 exercise that produced Ibeh as chairman, citing what he described as “unlawful exclusion.”
Defendants in the suit were Oke Ezea, Kingsley Chinda, a member of the House of Reps and chairman of the APC Congress Committee in Anambra, Emeka Ibe, the acclaimed winner, and Independent National Electoral Commission.
Onyekwere prayed the court that he was a bona-fide member of APC and was entitled to aspire for the office of the party’s chairman in Anambra.
He sought a declaration by the Court that the election of the chairman was not conducted in accordance with the provisions of Section 232 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended and Article 20 of the APC constitution 2017 as amended.
Onyekwere said the aim of those provisions was that all elections would be through democratic voting, and argued that that the exercise fell short of it.
He sought a declaration that he would not be punished after seeking justice through the court and that the May 19, 2018 Anambra APC congress be set aside.
In his over two- hour ruling Hon. Justice Bature Gafai dismissed the counter affidavits of defendants which contended that the court did not have jurisdiction over the matter as it was an internal party affair.
Gafai said the Plaintiff being a bona-fide member of the party and having paid the mandatory nomination fee had the right to fair contest.
He nullified the election into the APC chairmanship position and ordered a rerun which INEC should supervise.
The judge who did not grant the damage of N100 million sought by the Plaintiff, however did not give new date for the repeat of the election.
Tagbo Ike, counsel to the petitioner applauded the court for the judgment and speedy dispensation of justice.
Ike, who described the election as a sham, said it was sad that a few people stakeholders sat and produced their stooges as consensus and harmonised candidates and forced them on the people.
Ike said he would convey the judgment to the party hierarchy for appropriate action.
The Plaintiff, Onyekwere, also lauded the court adding that had been vindicated.
Onyekwere who hails from the same village in Umunze community of Orumba South, with Ibe, said he would go back and prepare for a congress election that would reflect the minds of the generality of the party faithful.
“I thank God. If you must go to equity you have go with clean hands. I have maintained that there was no congress in Anambra, and the court has confirmed it,” he declared
“I will go and prepare, if I win, I win; if lose I will be happy that justice has been served,” he concluded.
Calls to Ibe’s mobile phone line did not go through.
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