Friday, September 24, 2021

Court sacks Anambra APC chairman

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A Federal High Court sitting in Awka, Anambra on Thursday nullified the election of Emeka Ibe as the chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state.

Uzochukwu Onyekwere, a member of the APC in Anambra and chairmanship aspirant had gone to court to contest the May 19 state elective congress that brought in Ibe, over unlawful exclusion.

Defendants in the suit were Okey Ezea, Kingsley Chinda, chairman of the APC Congress Committee in Anambra, Ibe, the acclaimed winner and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

Mr Onyekwere prayed the court that he was a bona-fide member of APC and was entitled to aspire for the office the party’s chairman in Anambra.

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He sought declaration that the exercise was not conducted in accordance with the provisions of Section 223 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and Article 20 of the APC constitution 2017 as amended.

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He said the intendment of those provisions was that all elections would be through democratic voting and that the exercise fell short of it.

Mr Ibeh 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 hours ruling, 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.

Mr Gafai said the plaintiff being a bona-fide of the party and having paid the mandatory nomination fee had the right to fair contest.

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He nullified the election into the APC chairmanship position and ordered a re-run which INEC should supervise.

The judge who did not grant the damage of N100 million sought by the plaintiff however, did not give that for the repeat of the election.

But in a swift reaction, Tagbo Ike, counsel to the petitioner applauded the court for the judgment and speedy dispensation of justice.

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Mr Ike, who described the election as a `sham’ said it was sad that a few people sat and produced their stooges as consensus and harmonised candidates and forced them on the people.

Mr Ike said he would convey judgment to the party hierarchy for appropriate action.

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The plaintiff, Mr Onyekwere also lauded the court adding that he had been vindicated.

Mr Onyekwere said he would go back and prepare for a congress election that would reflect the minds of the generality of party faithful.

“I thank God, if you must go to equity you have to go with clean hands, I have maintained that there was no congress in Anambra and the court has confirmed it.

“I will go and prepare, if I win, I win and if I lose I will be happy that justice has been served,” he said.


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