INEC silent on candidature, declares APC winner of Imo North bye-election
Uzodimma disagrees with Abuja High Court, backs Ibezim
Senator faults electoral body’s decision
THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the December 5, 2020 Imo North Senatorial District bye-election, which was contested by 14 political parties.
Curiously, the electoral umpire announced no particular candidate winner, but rather awarded victory to the APC as a party, while Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate, Emmanuel Okewulonu, came second.
Returning officer for the election, Hakeem Adikum, announced the results about 5:00a.m yesterday at INEC’s headquarters on Port Harcourt Road, Owerri.
Adikum said: “I hereby return the All Progressives Congress winner of the Imo North Senatorial bye-election held on Saturday, December 5, 2020.”
He said the APC won in five of the six council areas of the district namely: Ihitte-Uboma, Isiala-Mbano, Ehime-Mbano, Onuimo and Okigwe, while the PDP led in Obowo Council Area.
He disclosed that the APC polled 36, 811 votes, while the PDP got 31,903 votes, adding that in Ehime-Mbano, APC scored 7,229 votes, PDP got 5,727 and in Isiala-Mbano, APC scored 6,148 ballots compared to PDP’s 3,755 votes.
Others are, Ihitte-Uboma where APC scored 6,809 and PDP (5,504), in Onuimo, APC polled 5,540, PDP (4,475); Obowo, APC received 3,859, PDP 6,515, while APC got
7,185 compared to PDP’s 5,220 votes in Okigwe.
Imo State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. Francis Ezeonu, said the decision of the Election Management Body (EMB) to return the party without a candidate, was due to Friday’s judgments of the Appeal Court sitting in Owerri and the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The three-member justices led by Uche Onyemenam and supported by J. Y. Tukur and M. B. Idris, ordered INEC to restore the plaintiff, Frank Ibezim, as the authentic candidate and removed Ifeanyi Araraume, who had been favoured by the lower court.
Also in Abuja on Friday, the Federal High Court ruled that Ibezim was unfit to contest, having discovered discrepancies in his name in two certificates he submitted to his party during the primary.
The Imo North Senatorial District became vacant following the death of former representative, Benjamin Uwajumogu in December 2019.
BESIDES, Governor Hope Uzodimma, has faulted INEC) for declaring the APC winner of the poll without naming his preferred candidate, Ibezim, as winner of the bye-election.
Addressing journalists in Owerri, yesterday, he relied on the judgment of the Appeal Court in Owerri, led by Onyenemerem, which voided the Federal Court’s ruling of November 6, 2020 that favoured Araraume.
Uzodimma, who thanked the people of the zone for voting APC said: “You remained committed once more and voted for the APC. We have shown that Imo is an APC state committed to service and change.”
MEANWHILE, a third republic Senator and former Abia State Chairman of the PDP, Emma Nwaka, has faulted INEC’s declaration of APC without naming a candidate as winner of Saturday’s Imo North Senatorial District bye-election.
He described the development as “an anomaly and aberration without legs to stand in any court or tribunal.”
Nwaka predicted that PDP’s candidate in the bye-election, who was recognised and announced as the runner-up, would eventually become the winner of the poll.