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Anambra Poll: Appeal Court To Hear APC, Andy Uba’s Appeal Feb 2

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The Court of Appeal in Abuja has scheduled hearing for February 2 this year in two appeals seeking to overturn the December 20, 2021 judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja voiding Andy Uba’s participation in the last governorship election in Anambra State as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

A three-member panel of the appellate court, led by Justice Stephen Adah, chose the date on Friday to enable parties file all necessary documents.

The first appeal marked: CA/ABJ/CV/13/2022 was filed by the APC, while the second marked: CA/ABJ/CV/36/2022 was filed by Emmanuel Andy Nnamdi Uba (Andy Uba).

APC and Uba are contending, in the appeals that the Federal High Court in Abuja erred in law in holding in December 20 that the APC did not conduct a valid primary and therefore, did not present a valid candidate for the election.

Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court had, in the December 20 judgment, found among others, that Uba was never a candidate in the election held on November 6 having emerged from an illegally conducted primary election held by the APC.

Justice Ekwo held that the plaintiff, George Moghalu (an APC aspirant for the election) succeeded in proving that the APC did not conduct a valid primary election from which Uba claimed to have emerged as the party’s candidate.

The judgment was on a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/648/201 with the APC, the Indecent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Uba listed as defendants.

Moghalu had queried the legitimacy of the governorship primary election purportedly conducted by the APC on June 26, 2021, which allegedly produced Uba as the party”s candidate for the November 6, 2021 election.

Justice Ekwo, in the judgment, said: “the real issue in this case, which both the first defendant (APC) and third defendant (Uba) seem not to understand is not whether accredited members of the first defendant voted on 26th June, 2021 but whether there was any primary election at all conducted in accordance with the mandatory provisions of both the Electoral Act (as amended) and first defendant’s Guidelines for the

Nomination of Candidates for the Anambra 2021 Gubernatorial Election-Direct Primaries (Option A4).

“When a primary election is illegal, the fact that such illegal election was monitored by the Nigeria Police (or other security agencies) as averred in paragraph 25 (ii) of the third defendant’s counter-affidavit is of no moment.

“The combination of the evidence, in this case, by both the first and third defendants has created doubt in me that gubernatorial primary election of the first defendant for the nomination of its candidate for the Anambra State Governorship held at all or was held in accordance with the provisions of the Act (as amended) and first defendant’s Guidelines for the Electoral f Nomination of Candidates for the Anambra 2021 Gubernatorial Election Direct Primaries (Option A4).

“It is clear from the evidence in this case that the first defendant connived with the third defendant to conduct election outside the time prescribed by Articles 17 (vi) and 18(e), (g) and (i) of the first defendant’s Guidelines for the Nomination of Candidates for the Anambra 2021 Gubernatorial Election-Direct Primaries (Option A4) to the exclusion of the plaintiff.

“At the end, the votes in Exhibit MAM 9 of the third defendant were gratuitously awarded to other aspirants while the third defendant retained the highest votes. Now, the ingenuity of the first and third defendants has resulted in illegality and has backfired.

“In the end, it is my finding that the plaintiff has demonstrate upon preponderance of evidence that the gubernatorial primary election of the first defendant was not conducted in accordance with the provisions of sections 85 (2) and 87(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and Articles 17 (vi) and 18(e),(g) and (i) of first defendant’s Guidelines for the Nomination of Candidates for the Anambra 2021 Gubernatorial Election-Direct Primaries (Option A4).

“Therefore, the case of the plaintiff succeeds on the merit,” the judge said.

Justice Ekwo declared that the primary held by the APC was not in compliance with relevant laws and guidelines.

The judge issued an order compeling INEC to delist the APC and Uba from among the list of political parties and candidates for the November 6 election.

He retrained Uba from further holing himself out or parading himself as a candidate in the election.

The judge ordered the APC to refund to the plaintiff the N22,500.000 he paid for expression of interest and nomination forms since the party failed to conduct a valid primary.

Also on Friday, the same panel led by Justice Adah adjourned till February 28 the hearing of an appeal filed Adindu Valentine and Egwudike Chukwuebuka, who are challenging the candidacy of ex-governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Charles Soludo in the November 6 Anambra governorship election.

Valentine and Chukwuebuka had claimed, in their suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja that Soludo supplied false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) preparatory to the election.

But, in a judgment on December 1, 2021, Justice Taiwo Taiwo fualted the plaitiffs’ claims and held in favour of Soludo and his then running mate, Onyeka Ibezim.

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