By Our Reporter
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that despite the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja Division, on Friday, declaring Mr. Uche Ogah winner of the party’s governorship primaries, Chief Ikechi Emenike remains its authentic candidate for the March 11, 2023 governorship election.
An Abuja Court presided over by Justice Binta Nyako had today invalidated the candidacy of Chief Emenike who is recognized by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the party’s candidate for the governorship election, while handing victory to Ogah, former Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development.
But in a swift reaction to Justice Nyako’s ruling, APC said the judgement cannot be enforced since the Appeal Court had already ruled on the matter.
Weighing in on the controversial judgement, the APC legal adviser in Abia State, Barrister V.C. Nwankwo, said “in the eye of the law, Ikechi Emenike still remains the APC candidate in Abia State.”
Stating his reasons in a statement on Friday, Nwankwo said: “First, Justice Binta Nyako’s judgment cannot be enforced or executed until the final pronouncement by the Supreme Court on the subject matter.
“Second, the judgment of the Abia State High Court by Justice Benson Anya of June 24, 2022, in Suit No HUM/31/2022:IKECHI EMENIKE VS APC @2 ORS affirmed the candidature of Ikechi Emenike.
“The judgment of Abia State High Court was affirmed by the Court of Appeal, Abuja in two separate judgments and also by the Court of Appeal in Owerri.
“The law is trite that judgments of the appellate courts are binding on the lower courts and parties. Again the judgment of the Federal High Court cannot override and is not superior to the said three judgments of the Court of Appeal that affirmed Ikechi Emenike as the candidate of the APC in Abia State.
“Moreover, contrary to the judgment of Justice Binta Nyako today, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court had settled it in so many decisions that INEC and the courts cannot determine who the candidate of a political party is where and when there are two competing primaries.
“Therefore, there is no cause for alarm. The mission to rescue and rebuild Abia State by High Chief Ikechi Emenike is unstoppable.”
On September 3, the authenticity of Chief Ikechi Emenike’s candidacy was further affirmed by the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division.
The appellate court presided over by Justice B. Georgewill dismissed the appeal filed by Mr. Uche Ogah seeking to nullify the candidature of Emenike.
In its judgment on the appeal No. CA/OW/269/2022: APC & ANOR Vs Ikechi Emenike & ANOR, the appellate court dismissed the appeal for lack of merit and endorsed the judgment of the Abia State High Court which recognised Emenike as the authentic candidate of APC.
Following the emergence of Ikechi Emenike as the governorship standard-bearer of Abia APC at the primary election conducted by the panel sent by the national leadership of the party, Ogah had sought to stop him, claiming that he conducted a “direct primary and won” even without any authorisation or supervision by the APC national secretariat.
Emenike then approached the court to determine if having won the governorship primary, the party can refuse forwarding his name to INEC.
Justice Benson Anya, in delivering his judgment in suit No HUM/31/2022, resolved the matter in favour of Emenike on June 24, 2022.
Based on the court ruling, APC submitted Chief Ikechi Emenike’s name to INEC for recognition, an action which the Court Appeal, Abuja Division, affirmed as the right thing.
Meanwhile, as Justice Nyako was delivering her judgement on Friday, another Federal High Court in Umuahia, also affirmed Chief Emenike as the APC governorship candidate in Abia.