A Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia, Abia State has adjourned a case seeking to nullify the primary election that produced Ikechi Emenike as the governorship candidate of the opposition All Progressive Congress, APC to October 5, 2022 for a definite hearing.
A governorship aspirant in the party, Daniel Eke, in a case number FHC/UM/CS/96/2022 approached the court, seeking for the nullification of the indirect primary election that produced Emenike and the direct primary election that produced the immediate past Minister of state for Mines and Steel and Development, Uche Ogah, as a factional candidate, over falsehood.
The court, presided by Justice E .N Anyadike, granted the counsel to the plaintiff, Obinna Nkume, prayer for time to be given to his team to respond to the processes filed by the defendants, which was not served on time to them.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the Court sitting, Nkume said his clients were aggrieved by the primary election that produced Emenike and Ogah, which he described as a charade.
He said, “The duo cannot sustain the claims with regards to the electoral act and even the party directive and constitution.
The party directed that direct primary should be held in Abia State and without regards to the directive, the electoral committee that nominated Emenike went and indirect primary contrary to party directive.
“The electoral act is clear. If a party chooses a direct primary election, it must direct and vice versa. So a party cannot choose direct primary and do indirect primary. That’s Ikechi Emenike’s problem.
“Then, on the side of Uche Ogah, it is very clear that the electoral committee that was nominated by the party national leadership did not supervise his primary election. That one is already settled by the law. Once the national working committee of the party does not supervise a primary election, it’s a sham, even if the Independent National Electoral Commission supervises it.
We are not deterred that the APC may recognize one of the aspirants or INEC may publish the name of the one aspirant as a candidate. We did mention that in the court, and court quickly responded by saying that it is not bounded by what INEC is doing.
“The Court is the final arbiter. If INEC publishes a name and the court says no, you don’t have any candidate that was nominated by a valid primary election, then everything that’s based on that primary holds no water
Section 84 (13) of the Electoral Act makes it clear that once a political party does not have any candidate that is nominated through a valid primary election, it is presumed that the party does not have anybody to represent them in that election.
“All we are are saying that the primary election conducted by the APC in Abia State was not in line with the party’s constitution and our client who was an aspirant in that primary election should be paid huge damages for all the inconveniences caused him by the actions of the party.”
Responding the counsel to Ikechi Emenike, H. O Afolabi (SAN) insisted that his client was nominated by a validly primary election supervised by the National election committee nominated by the party.
He said: “We have responded to the claims of the plaintiff. If he says that the primary election was a sham. We have put forward before the court the authenticated results of the indirect primary election where our client was declared the winner.
“He is not even so sure of himself, he said he was running around on that day. He couldn’t say he participated in the direct or indirect primary election. I think he doesn’t even know the one he is challenging now”.