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Court sacks APC lawmaker-elect in Imo, awards N13.5m to plaintiff

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A federal High Court sitting in Owerri, Imo State yesterday sacked All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Ugonna Ozuruigbo as House of Representatives member-elect for Nkwerre/Njaba/Isu/Nwangele Federal Constituency of the state.

In suit marked FHC/OW/CS/25/2019 between Harrison Nwadike (plaintiff) and APC, Ozuruigbo and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) (defendants), the court ruled that APC did not conduct primary and should not have fielded any candidate for the poll.

Nwadike had sued APC and INEC for submitting Ozurigbo’s name as the party’s candidate, maintaining he was the rightful candidate of the party for the poll.Delivering judgement, Justice Tijanni G. Ringim, ordered INEC to issue a Certificate of Return to Kingsley Echendu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who emerged first runner-up in the February 23, 2019 National Assembly election.

The court also ruled that while APC should refund the plaintiff the N3 million he spent on the purchase of the party’s nomination form, APC and Ozuruigbo (first and second defendants) should pay him N10 million for damages. Justice Ringim further slammed a fine of N500, 000 against INEC, which should also be given to the plaintiff for damages.

Reacting to the judgement, Ozuruigbo said it was wrong for the court to have declared Echendu the rightful winner of the election, saying he would challenge the judgment, which ordered INEC to issue a Certificate of Return to the PDP candidate.
But counsel to the PDP candidate, Stanley Imo, argued that the court was right to have declared his client winner of the election.

“The law is very clear on this. Harrison Nwadike did not participate in all stages of the election but my client did. Now that the court held that Ozurigbo was not APC’s rightful candidate and that the first runner-up, who is my client that participated in all stages of the polls, should be issued the Certificate of Return,” he stated.


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