…Reaffirms Oye as APGA Nat’l Chairman
…Another court mandates listing of Ozigbo’s name
By Rose Oranye, Maureen Ikpeama and Kingsley Ugwu
A HIGH Court, sitting in Awka, Monday, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to restore Prof. Charles Soludo as the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the November 6 governorship election.
In a judgment delivered yesterday, 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 said Mr Soludo and his running mate were the authentic choices of the party.
INEC, while releasing the particulars of the candidate of all the parties in the election on Friday, replaced Soludo’s name with that of Chukwuma Umeoji as the candidate of APGA.
The commission also replaced the APGA deputy governorship candidate, Onyekachi Ibezim, with Obiagelu Orogbu.
Reacting to the judgement, Mr Soludo said it was an important step in the electoral process.
“I was a little surprised but not terribly surprised. I have gone through this before. What happened today is a very important step in the whole process. It is not surprising because the case is self-evident,” he told Channels Television on Monday.
Soludo, a former CBN Governor, said INEC was wrong by dropping his name from the list of candidates because he was a product of a primary election monitored by the commission, adding that he was surprised with the action of the commission because Mr Umeoji and his promoters never organised a primary election that it monitored.
Also, the National Chairman of the APGA, Victor Oye, said the judiciary in the country had done well, especially by stopping the activities of some people he described as impostors.
“I believe in the independence of the Judiciary and I believe that the Judiciary in Nigeria has done very well despite a few disenchantments,” Oye said.
“I don’t want to be dragged into unnecessary controversy. I think what happened today in Awka shows the independence of the Judiciary and that it is the last hope of the common man. Imagine what would have happened if there were no Judiciary. There would have been chaos and anarchy.”
“I feel happy that the court in Awka, has done justice to this matter by ordering the reinstatement of Prof. Chukwuma Charles Soludo as the governorship candidate of APGA for the November 6 Anambra Governorship election.
“INEC should immediately reinstate Prof. Soludo as APGA’s candidate for Anambra Governorship election without delay.
“I have never had any doubt about the candidacy of Soludo because Chukwuma Umeoji and his co-impostors have no place in law to claim anything in APGA. Did they conduct any genuine congress or primary?
“I feel it was a gross injustice for INEC to have declared him a candidate of APGA. This is evil and an invitation to chaos,’ he said.
Meanwhile, a Federal High Court in Awka has ordered the INEC to publish the name of Valentine Ozigbo as candidate of the PDP for the November 6, Anambra State governorship election.
Ozigbo, a former Chief Executive Officer of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria, secured 62 votes to emerge as the standard-bearer of the party in the primary election which was held on Saturday, June 26, 2021, at Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre, Awka.
Ozigbo had approached a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Maitama, seeking an order restraining the PDP from tampering with his name as the authentic candidate.
He also sought an order mandating INEC to publish his name as the party’s candidate.
However, the court refused all the orders sort and ordered the electoral commission not to publish the name of any candidate for the PDP pending the determination of the motion on notice.
Consequently, INEC, excluded the candidate of the PDP from the list of cleared candidates for the poll.
But in a fresh order issued yesterday, , the judge in Awka, Hyeladzira Nganjiwa asked the electoral commission to publish Ozigbo’s name as PDP’s candidate, following the withdrawal of the suit at the FCT high court.