December 21, 2021

Anambra gov election: APC has no valid candidate — Court

Andy Uba


•Nullifies Uba’s candidacy; says he emerged via illegal primary

•Uba will appeal judgement —Campaign organisation

By Vincent Ujumadu & Ikechukwu Nnochiri, ABUJA

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, nullified the primary election that produced Senator Andy Uba as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the governorship election held in Anambra State on November 6.

The court, in a judgement that was delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo, held that the primary election the APC conducted on June 26, wherein Uba emerged as its flag bearer, was done in substantial breach of both the electoral guidelines for the conduct of governorship primary election, as well as the party’s constitution.

It held that the APC, having failed to comply with the law in the conduct of its primary, was therefore bereft of any valid candidate for the gubernatorial contest.

The judgement followed a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/648/2021, which was brought before the court by an aggrieved APC governorship aspirant in the state, Mr George Moghalu.

Plaintiff alleged that the party had in violation of its constitution and guidelines, handpicked Senator Andy Uba, in a kangaroo primary election he said was conducted around 6 pm on June 26.

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Moghalu, who was among 14 aspirants that purchased forms to contest the Anambra governorship election on the platform of the APC, told the court that the said process that produced Uba, took place after all other aspirants and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had left the venue.

He accused the party of acting in breach of the mandatory provision of Article 18 of its guidelines, which he said stipulated that accreditation for such primary election must start by 8 am and end by 2 pm.

Consequently, he urged the court to nullify the APC primary election and order a fresh one.

Plaintiff had among other things, urged the court to compel INEC to expunge the name of both Uba and the APC from the list of names of political parties and candidates cleared to participate in the governorship election.

He also prayed the court to determine, whether a political party that fails to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act (2010), the party’s constitution and its guidelines, by purporting to conduct a primary election without accreditation of voters, actual voting or casting of votes, collation of votes and announcement of results based on actual votes cast and counted, can validly field a candidate for the election.

More so, the Plaintiff, through his team of lawyers led by  Chris Uche, SAN, prayed the court to declare that, by virtue of the APC’s alleged non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 and the party’s regulations and guidelines in the conduct of its primary in Anambra State, Uba “is not a candidate at the said 6th November 2021 gubernatorial election or at any subsequent postponement.”

He applied for a declaration of the court that the APC was bound to comply with all the relevant legal provisions in the conduct of its primary election after having demanded and received N22.5million from him and the other 13 aspirants.

As well as, a declaration of the court that has failed to comply with the relevant applicable laws, the APC, has no candidate for the forthcoming governorship election.

Aside from demanding a refund of the N22.5million he paid for the expression of interest and nomination forms, Plaintiff, prayed the court to restrain Uba from holding himself out or parading himself as the candidate of the APC in the said election.

Cited as 1st to 3rd Defendants in the matter are the APC, INEC and Uba.

Delivering judgement in the matter yesterday, Justice Ekwo, aside from invalidating Uba’s candidacy, ordered APC to refund to Plaintiff, the money paid to obtain both his nomination and expression of interest forms.

He held that Plaintiff successfully proved his case to warrant the nullification of the primary election.

The court stressed that since the primary election was conducted illegally and in breach of the law, the APC, could therefore not be a beneficiary of the substantive governorship election that was declared in favour of the candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Prof. Charles Soludo.

Therefore, the court, declared that the APC had no candidate in the Anambra governorship election.

“The 2nd defendant (INEC) is compelled to delist the name of the 1st defendant and 3rd defendant from the November 6, Anambra governorship election,” Justice Ekwo ordered.

Uba will appeal  judgement —Campaign

Organisation However, following the judgement that delisted Senator Andy Uba as a candidate in the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State, his campaign organization has said that the Senator and his party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, will appeal the judgement of Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court.

Deputy director of Senator Andy Uba Governorship Campaign Organization, SAUGCO, Mr Ikechukwu Onyia advised politicians in the state not to rejoice over the judgment and urged APC supporters to remain law-abiding in the face of the latest development.

He said: “It is rather not surprising to many that members of a political party in the state could turn themselves as the spokespersons of the Federal High Court with their tented report about the judgement and abuse of our party, APC, with a view to distorting this grave miscarriage of justice because they are to be the direct beneficiaries of the judgement.

“We are not surprised that some people are celebrating the Justice Ekwo judgement like a child that received Christmas clothe from his father. They believe that the judgement will stop Andy Uba from proving his petition at the tribunal. The good thing is that this is not the last court in this instant. We are heading to appeal court to prove them wrong.”

Vanguard News Nigeria