Chris Azubogu, a member of the House of Representatives, had his nomination as the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate for the Senate seat representing Anambra South Senatorial District invalidated by a Federal High Court in Abuja.
At the federal level, Azubogu represents the PDP in the Nnewi North/Nnewi South/Ekwusigo Federal Constituency.
In a ruling released on Thursday, Justice Inyang Ekwo found that Azubogu was still a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) when he ran in APGA’s primary election for the Anambra South Senatorial District in June.
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Justice Ekwo ruled that Ben Nwankwo should be presented to INEC as the APGA’s legitimate candidate for the senate seat.
He prevented Azubogu from presenting himself as the APGA senate candidate any further.
Nwankwo, who alleged, among other things, that Azubogu was unlawfully nominated, won his case designated FHC/ABJ/CS/909/2022.
According to Justice Ekwo, Azubogu did break the law by disregarding Articles 65 and 68.
The judge agreed with the plaintiff that Azubogu needed to legally qualify to participate in another political party’s primary by resigning, defecting, or crossing the carpet from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
If Azubogu had resigned his membership or defected from the PDP to the APGA or another political party, Justice Ekwo ruled, he should have vacated his position.
He further ruled that Azubogu could not have validly voted in the primaries of any party other than the PDP because he had not complied with mandatory conditions of Sections 65 and 68 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 27 of the APGA guidelines for the primary election for 2022.
Justice Ekwo ruled that Azubogu was ineligible to vote in the APGA primary election held on June 1, 2022.
APGA cannot validly nominate Azubogu because he was not a member of the party at the time he reportedly stood for the party’s primary election. He ruled that any action committed in defiance or breach of the 1999 Constitution is unconstitutional, null, and void.
On Thursday, Justice Ekwo issued another ruling that invalidated the Labour Party’s (LP) unconstitutional substitution of Chukwuma Amadi as their Enugu West Senatorial District candidate.
The judge ruled that unless Amadi officially withdraws his candidacy or dies, he will continue to serve as the party’s candidate.
The ruling concerned the case designated FHC/ABJ/CS/1194/2022, which Amadi had brought to dispute the LP’s claimed substitution of him.
Uchenna Ekwe, who had been unlawfully chosen by the party to replace Amadi, was removed from office by an order from Justice Ekwo.
When the plaintiff’s replacement was challenged, Justice Ekwo cited sections 29, 31, 32, 33, and 34 of the Electoral Act to overturn the decision.
The judge ruled that political parties cannot alter or replace candidates whose names have been submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) under Section 29 of the Electoral Act, 2022, except in the case of death or withdrawal by the candidate.
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