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Anambra South: Court sacks APGA Senatorial candidate, nullifies primary election result

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting at Apo, on Thursday, nullified the outcome of the Senatorial primary election the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, conducted in Anambra South on October 3.

The court, in a judgement that was delivered by Justice Valentine Ashi, equally voided the Senatorial ticket and Certificate of Return the party issued to the declared winner of the primary exercise, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu.

Justice Ashi held that evidence before the court indicated that the primary election was not only fraught with irregularities, but also conducted without regard to relevant provisions of the 1999 constitution, the Electoral Act 2010, as well as the constitution and electoral guidelines of the party.

The court noted that whereas APGA claimed that Ukachukwu was elected through an electoral college that comprised of three delegates from each of the Wards in the Senatorial District, it however failed to produce the names of the delegates that participated in the exercise.

Besides, Justice Ashi said he was convinced that the primary election was fraudulent, after the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, notified the court that the party refused to furnish its officials that went to monitor the primary election that was held at Ekwulobia, with the list of the delegates.

“The question to be asked here is this; If the Defendants were certain that they were using the legitimate list of delegates, why did they have to hide it from INEC officials?

“In totality, the Defendants’ case is so weak that it has only helped to strengthen the Plaintiff’s case”, Justice Ashi held.

He said the court was unable to establish any form of wrongdoing on the part of INEC with respect to the primary election and would therefore not make any order against the Commission.

“In the final analysis, the primary election the All Progressives Grand Alliance held in Anambra South Senatorial District on October 3 having been improperly conducted, is hereby set-aside.

“Similarly, all the outcome of the said primary election are hereby declared null and void “, the court held.

The judgement followed a suit marked CV/3054/2018, which was lodged before the court by an aggrieved Senatorial aspirant of the party, Dr. Okey Chidolue.

Cited as 1st to 5th Defendants in the matter were APGA, its National Chairman, Chief Victor Ike Oye, the Anambra State Chairman of the party, Mr. Norbert Obi, declared winner of the primary poll, Ukachukwu, and INEC.

Meanwhile, the court declined to either compel INEC to recognize the Plaintiff as APGA’s Senatorial candidate, or to order the party to conduct a fresh primary election for the District.

The Plaintiff had among other things, prayed the court to determine, “Whether having regards to the provisions of sections 223 and 224 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), section 87(4) (c) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), the APGA Constitution 2014 (as amended) and the APGA Electoral Guidelines for Primary Elections 2018,the 3rd of October 2018 Anambra South Senatorial District primary of the 1st Defendant was illegal, null and void.

“Whether having regards to the provisions of sections 223 and 224 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), section 87(4) (c) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), the APGA Constitution 2014 (as amended) and the APGA Electoral Guidelines for Primary Elections 2018, 1st Defendant’s plan and intention to submit and/or the subsequent submission of the name of the 4th Defendant to the 5th Defendant as the candidate it proposes to sponsor for the Anambra South Senatorial District in the 2019 general election is not illegal, null and void in that the primary election in which the 4th Defendant was purportedly returned as winner was conducted in breach of the said Electoral Act and the APGA Constitution and Electoral Guidelines, by the rejection/ refusal to announce the actual result of the lawful votes of authentic delegates (named in the INEC certified and authenticated list of adhoc ward delegates elected at the 2018 APGA ward congresses in Anambra State to constitute and vote) and substitution therefore with a fake result.

“Whether having regard to the provisions of sections 223 and 224 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), section 87(4) (c) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), the APGA Constitution 2014 (as amended) and the APGA Electoral Guidelines for Primary Elections 2018, it is not illegal for the 5th Defendant to receive, accept, process, recognise and/or publish the name of the 4th Defendant, as the 1’s Defendant’s candidate for the Anambra South Senatorial District in the 2019 general elections.

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As well as, “Whether having regard to the provisions or sections 223 and 224 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), section 87(4) (c) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), the APGA Constitution 2014 (as amended) and the APGA Electoral Guidelines for Primary Elections 2018,the 3rd of October 2018 Anambra South Senatorial District primary election conducted by the 1st defendant for the purpose of nominating its candidate for the 2019 Anambra South Senatorial District election, was valid when results were announced not withstanding that the sorting and counting of the ballots cast by the delegates in the said election was truncated by armed thugs and hoodlums who stormed the venue of the election and violently carted away the ballot box containing the ballots cast at the election”.

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