Amid unfavourable Supreme Court ruling, Ararume seeks recognition as Imo senator
Contrary to the expectation that last weekend’s declaration by the Supreme Court of Frank Ibezim as the authentic candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for December 5, 2020, Imo North senatorial by-election may have eventually ended the candidacy impasse, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue him the legal instruments of office – Form EC8E and Certificate of Return (CoR).
He hinged his demand on the ruling of a Federal High Court that had, in the course of the marathon lawsuits, authenticated his candidature.
The contender said he remained the rightful candidate and eventual winner of the election, the conflicting judgment notwithstanding.
The electoral umpire had declared APC the winner of the poll with no specific standard-bearer.
In a letter to INEC through his lawyer, Ahmed Raji, and obtained by some journalists yesterday, Araraume insisted that the verdict of the apex court did not invalidate the orders earlier made in his favour by a Federal High Court.
It read: “Although the Supreme Court, in its judgment in Appeal No: SC/183/2021, between Chukwuma Francis Ibezim v Asomugha Tony Ebeleke and 3 ors and Appeal No: SC/182/2021 between APC v Asomugha Tony Ebeleke and three others delivered on the 16th day of April 2021, set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal, it is imperative to note that the appeals which culminated in the aforesaid Supreme Court judgment did not emanate from the judgment of Hon Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo delivered on the 18th day of March 2021 in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/1644/2020 between Senator Ifeanyi Godwin Araraume v
INEC & 3 ors.”
The correspondence continued: “Again in its judgment in the aforementioned appeal, the Supreme Court did not in any way or manner declare Chukwuma Francis Ibezim as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress for the Imo North Senatorial by-election of 5th December 2020.
“It is absolutely clear that the Supreme Court did not and could not have made any consequential order declaring Chukwuma Francis Ibezim as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress for the bye-election because, unlike Senator Godwin Ifeanyi Araraume, the said Chukwuma Francis Ibezim did not take part in all the stages of the Imo North Senatorial by-election of 5th December 2020 in line with the combined mandatory positions of Sections 285(13) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999 (Forth Alteration, No. 21) Act 2017 and Section 141 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).”