Justice John Tsoho, of the Abuja Federal High Court, has ordered that a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Obiora Okonkwo, will replace Senator Uche Ekwunife as the senator for Anambra Central.
Okonkwo challenged Ekwunife’s emergence as candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the March 2015 election, saying he was the valid winner of the primaries.
The suit has PDP, former Chairman Adamu Muazu, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Mrs. Ekwunife as defendants.
Justice Tsoho’s judgment comes about two weeks after the Court of Appeal in Abuja held that a fresh election be held to fill the seat, with the exclusion of the PDP and its candidate.
The November 20 judgment followed a July 2015 judgment by the Court of Appeal in Enugu, which voided Ekwunife’s election on the grounds that she was not a “product of a valid primary and therefore not duly and legitimately nominated”.
Based on the Court of Appeal’s November 20 judgment, INEC announced January 13, 2018, for a rerun.
Okonkwo, in 2014, challenged Ekwunife’s nomination as PDP’s candidate for the 2015 National Assembly Election.
However, four defendants withdrew
Justice Tsoho agreed with plaintiff’s lawyer Chief Sebastine Hon (SAN) that following withdrawal of the respondents, the court will enter judgment in favour of Okonkwo.
According to him, with their withdrawal and pledge to submit to the court’s decision, the plaintiff has emerged as the lawful PDP candidate in the March 28, 2015 National Assembly election of Anambra Central.
The PDP has challenged its exclusion from the rerun at the Supreme Court.
In his judgment yesterday, Justice Tsoho said the plaintiff, Okonkwo, was validly nominated by the PDP in its December 7, 2014, primaries.
He ordered the Senate President to inaugurate Okonkwo as the rightful senator for Anambra Central.
The judge also ordered that the Certificate of Return issued to Ekwunife (if any is left) be withdrawn and a fresh one issued to Okonkwo.
Hon said the judiciary has, once again, proved to be the hope of the common man.
He hailed the respondents in the suit for their maturity.