The Federal High Court Abuja on Monday held that Mr. Uche Nwosu, a son-in-law to former governor Rochas Okorocha was not eligible to contest the 2019 Imo governorship election, ordering the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to strike out his name as a governorship candidate in the last election held the State.
Justice Inyang Ekwo voided Nwosu’s candidacy on the grounds of double nomination by two political parties, the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Action Alliance, AA, in violation of section 37 of the Electoral Act.
This decision may have finally nailed the faint hope of Mr. Nwosu of unseating governor Emeka Ihedioha in the event of a rerun, as he is currently pursuing an election petition at the state’s Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.
The AA governorship candidate is challenging the victory of the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate, Ihedioha, in the March 11, 2019 poll.
But on Monday, Justice Ekwo upheld the the case of the plaintiffs, the Action People’s Party and its Deputy National Chairman, Mr. Uche Nnadi, ruling that Nwosu’s governorship candidature was null and void on the grounds of multiplicity of nominations as the governorship candidate of both the APC and AA.
The nomination of Nwosu by AA as a governorship candidate “is invalid, null and void, having been made at the pendency of similar nomination of the 2nd defendant (Nwosu) by the All Progressives Congress for the same position,” the judge decided, noting that Nwosu affirmed to be the APC’s governorship candidate in his statement on oath sworn before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.
He, therefore, said, “It is hereby declared that the nomination of the 2nd defendant by the All Progressives Congress and Action Alliance, the 3rd defendant, is invalid, null and void and constitute a violation of section 37 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
“An order of this honourable court is hereby made directing the 1st defendant (INEC) to remove the name of the 2nd defendant (Nwosu) as the governorship of the 3rd defendant (AA) in the 2019 Imo State governorship election for multiple nomination in violation of the provision of section 37 of the Electoral Act 2018 (as amended).
“An order of this honourable court is hereby made restraining the 1st defendant (INEC) from recognising the 2nd defendant (Nwosu) as the governorship of the 3rd defendant (AA) and/or any other political party for the 2019 Imo State governorship election
“An order of this honourable court is hereby made restraining the 1st defendant (INEC) from giving value to any act done in pursuance of the 2nd defendant purported candidature of the 3rd defendant (AA) and/or any other political party in the 2019 Imo State governorship election.”
The plaintiffs, APP and Nnadi, filed their suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/235/2019 on February 27, 2019.
Justice Ekwo expressed the view that by virtue of the provision of section 37 of the Electoral Act, the plaintiffs, despite not participating in the election, possessed the locus standi (legal right) to file their suit.
Mr. Nwosu is yet to respond to this devastating verdict as at the time of filing this report.
CHECKPOINTCHARLEY tried unsuccessfully to reach him or get his comment as messages sent to his phone were unanswered.