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Court to rule today on Abia APC primary

By Leo Sobechi, Abuja
19 January 2023   |   3:32 am
In what appears a major trial of the efficacy of the Electoral Act 2022 to checkmate impunity and imposition of candidates by political parties, the Supreme Court will today deliver judgment on the contentious Abia Central Senatorial primary election of All Progressives Congress (APC).

In what appears a major trial of the efficacy of the Electoral Act 2022 to checkmate impunity and imposition of candidates by political parties, the Supreme Court will today deliver judgment on the contentious Abia Central Senatorial primary election of All Progressives Congress (APC).

The matter, with case No SC/CV/1626/2022, is an appeal filed by the APC, following the ruling of the Court of Appeal, Owerri Division, on October 4, 2022, which declared Samuel Ifeanyi Onuigbo, instead of Emeka Atuma, as the duly nominated candidate from the primary organised by the party on May 28, 2022.

Shortly after Onuigbo was returned winner of the primary, Atuma, who was the first runner-up in the primary, started laying claims to the senatorial ticket.

Atuma noted that a repeat straw poll was held on June 7, 2022, even as he alleged that the national headquarters of the party canceled the original senatorial primary. He, therefore, approached the party to submit his name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the nominee.

Based on purported moves by some leaders of APC to substitute his name, Onuigbo approached the Federal High Court, claiming, among other reliefs, that by virtue of Sections 29(1) and 84 of the Electoral Act 2022, Atuma did not participate in the processes leading to the conduct of the Abia Central Senatorial primary.

Onuigbo further noted that he defeated Henry Ikoh, who has been appointed a minister of state, by 157 to 152 votes, adding that the APC headquarters officially received result of the primary, which was signed by the Chairman and Secretary of the National Assembly Primary Election Committee.

Justice E. N. Anyadike of Federal High Court had ruled that in the absence of a valid result showing that the plaintiff won the rescheduled primary of the 1st defendant, he cannot complain that his name was unlawfully substituted with that of 3rd defendant (Atuma).

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