Court sacks APGA’s Anambra South senatorial candidate
A Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday, sacked a House of Representatives member, Chris Azubogu, as the senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for Anambra South Senatorial District in the 2023 general elections.
The federal lawmaker was removed from the senatorial race because of his membership to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) when, in June this year, he stood for the primary election under APGA for Anambra South Senatorial District.
Delivering judgment in the suit instituted by Ben Nwankwo, challenging the unlawful nomination of Azubogu, Justice Inyang Ekwo held that the lawmaker violated Section 65 and 68 of the 1999 Constitution in the unlawful manner he stood for primary election under APGA and got nominated for the February 2023 senatorial election for Anambra South.
Ekwo agreed with the plaintiff that the 1st defendant (Azubogu) ought to have resigned, defected or cross carpeted from PDP to APGA before he can lawfully qualify to stand for primary election on the platform of another party.
As a serving member of the House of Representatives, representing Nnewi North/Nnewi South/ Ekwusigo Federal Constituency under the PDP ticket, Ekwo held that Azubogu ought to have relinquished the seat if he had actually resigned his membership, defected from PDP to APGA or another political party.
The court held that without complying with mandatory provisions of Sections 65 and 68 of the 1999 Constitution, and Article 27 of APGA guidelines for primary election for 2022, there was no way the federal lawmaker can lawfully participate in any primary election other than that of the PDP.
The court held that as at June 1, 2022, when APGA conducted its primary election for the nomination of a candidate for Anambra South Senatorial District, Azubogu, who is 1st defendant in the suit, was not qualified to participate.
The court added that any action taken in contravention or breach of the 1999 Constitution is unconstitutional, null and void, adding that Azubogu, having not been a member of APGA at the time he purportedly stood for the primary election of the party, cannot be lawfully nominated by APGA.
The court consequently nullified his purported nomination, and submission of his name to the Independent National Electoral commission (INEC) as candidate of APGA for the 2023 senatorial election.
In his place, Ekwo ordered that the plaintiff, Nwankwo’s name be submitted to the electoral body as candidate of APGA for the election.