A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, nullified the participation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Andy Uba, in the Nov. 6 Anambra governorship election.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment, held that the June 26 primary of the party which produced Uba as its standard-bearer was not validly conducted.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Chief George Moghalu, an aspirant in the APC primary election had challenged the process and the outcome of the primary election that produced Uba as the party’s candidate.
Moghalu, who was the plaintiff, had sued the party, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Uba as 1st to 3rd defendants respectively.
Delivering the judgment, Justice Ekwo aligned with the plaintiff’s arguments that the June 26 primary election breached the provisions of the Electoral Act and the APC guidelines for the conduct of the exercise.
He held that the plaintiff had successfully demonstrated that the primary election was not conducted in accordance with the law and the party’s guidelines.
“Therefore, the case of the plaintiff succeeds on its merit,” he said.
Ekwo held that since the election was conducted illegally, the APC (1st defendant) cannot be a beneficiary of the Nov. 6 election which produced the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate, Prof. Charles Soludo, as the winner of the poll outcome.
The judge, therefore, declared that the APC had no candidate in the Anambra governorship election by non-inclusion of the name of Moghalu in the primary election, and the conduct of the poll in contravention of the Electoral Act and the party’s guidelines.
“The 2nd defendant (INEC) is compelled to delist the name of the 1st defendant and 3rd defendant from the Nov. 6, Anambra governorship election,” he said.
According to the judge, any election conducted contrary to the 1st defendant guideline is in nullity.
“The real issue was not whether accredited members of 1st defendant voted on that day but whether the election was conducted in accordance with the election guidelines of 1st defendant,” he held.
He also said that the evidence of the police report confirmed that the election was conducted outside the time frame.
Ekwo, who described the conduct of the primary by APC as “crude and primitive,” ordered that the N22.5 million paid by Moghalu as expression of interest and nomination forms be refunded since the party failed to complied with the provisions of the law and its guidelines.
NAN reports that Moghalu had, in July, filed the suit at the court, seeking an order removing Uba and the APC from the list of gubernatorial candidates and political parties partaking in the Anambra governorship election on the grounds that the party failed to conduct a valid primary election.
He also demanded N122.5 million as damages, which include a refund for the fee paid for expression of interest and nomination forms and N100 million “for the breach of contract to commence and conclude primary election”.
INEC had picked Uba, winner of the APC primary election, as the party’s candidate.
In the affidavit in support of the suit, the plaintiff said the APC failed to conclude the selection and nomination process for its candidate for the Nov. 6 governorship poll.
He said the APC had chosen to adopt direct primary, which is why the party published the list of designated venues for the exercise.
Moghalu said the party received N22.5 million for the expression of interest form and nomination form, including from him, “to allow him to participate in the primary election exercise”.
He further said he was informed a day before the primaries that the APC electoral committee would address all aspirants and stakeholders in Akwa.
“Shockingly, on June 26, 2021, the said election committee was not seen anywhere in Anambra; no accreditation of voters took place; no voting and collation of votes occurred in all the 326 wards of Anambra state,” he said.
He said the committee “announced election results it did not conduct, and which fakery was credited to the 3rd defendant as the winner of the primary election scheduled for emergence as APC’s candidate in the November 6 governorship election in Anambra”.
Moghalu also argued that the party did not invite the INEC in line with the law requiring the commission to monitor the exercise.
APC postpones presidential campaign to adjust team list
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council has postponed the commencement of its campaign scheduled for Wednesday September 28.
In a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, the Director-General Tinubu/Shettima Campaign Council and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, announced the postponement, saying the decision was to create room for inclusion of more party chieftains into the council.
The statement is titled, “Adjustment of timetable of activities earmarked to commence campaign by the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council.
Part of the statement read, “Recall that we had earlier earmarked a peace walk and prayers for Wednesday, September 28, 2022, to officially kick-off our campaigns for the 2023 presidential elections.
“We had also announced that the members of the Campaign Council report at the Campaign Headquarters on that day to collect their letters of appointments.
“However, due to the expansion of the list to accommodate more stakeholders and interests within the APC family, we have decided to adjust the time-table of these activities in order to ensure everyone is on board before activities officially commence.
“Consequently, the activities earlier announced for the 28th of September will no longer hold
“As the ruling and most attractive party in Nigeria, we understand the sacrifices and understanding of our teeming members who are more than willing to volunteer themselves for this great task ahead. It also shows the enormous love that the party members have for our candidates.
“A new date and time-table of events will be announced soon.”
Director, Media and Publicity of the council, Bayo Onanuga, had in a statement on Monday said the council would commence official campaign on Wednesday with a prayer session and peace walk in Abuja, in line with the 2023 timetable of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Orton dumps Wike, backs Ayu as PDP chairman
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has beaten a retreat in calling for the removal of Iyorchia Ayu as the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Ortom had earlier sided with Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers, and his allies in insisting that the PDP should replace Ayu with someone from the South-West since Atiku Abubakar, the party’s presidential candidate comes from the North like Ayu.
Since the emergence of Atiku as the standard-bearer of the party in May, the Wike group has insisted that Ayu must resign as a condition for supporting the PDP presidential candidate.
But Ortom in a statement issued by Nathaniel Ikyur, his chief press secretary, said he had confidence in Ayu’s ability to lead the party to victory in next year’s general election.
The governor was reacting to the allegations by Jemgbagh Development Association, Abuja that he was plotting the downfall of his fellow Benue man, Ayu.
He said he worked tirelessly, alongside other prominent Benue citizens, to ensure that Ayu was elected “as the national chairman of our great party even against all odds”.
The statement read in part, “The governor could not, therefore, turn around to work against him to be removed from office.
“Governor Ortom vouched for the integrity and capacity of Dr Iyorchia Ayu to lead and rebuild the PDP to victory and rescue Nigeria from the misrule of the APC maladministration. That is why Ayu was returned unopposed by the northern caucus of the party and got elected as the national chairman of the PDP at the party’s convention.
“Where was Jemgbagh Development Association, when Governor Ortom galvanised support from across the leaders of the party to make Dr. Ayu PDP’s National Chairman? What was their contribution to that project that they now want to use clannish stance to blackmail the governor?
“This amorphous and emergency Jemgbagh Development Association, Abuja, which has never been heard of before, is now masquerading as the voice of Jemgbagh to embark on campaign of calumny against Governor Ortom, who has worked selflessly for the people of Benue State.
“Governor Ortom is more Jemgbagh than most of the people claiming it now. This is fact, because he has done more for Jemgbagh, both in terms of appointments and projects executed as well as patronage in the area, than even one of the Jemgbagh sons, who was governor. Besides, Governor Ortom has consistently worked for the unity of Benue State and will never stand in the way of any of her citizens, either here in the state or in the diaspora.
“For those, who claimed to be leaders of this Jemgbagh Development Association, Abuja, we urge them to be truly developmental in their drive to build cohesion among the people and attract real development to their area rather than engaging in mischief or blackmail.”
Atiku Snubs Wike, Gives Fresh Appointment To Saraki, Anyim, Shekarau, Secondus, Others
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has approved the appointment of former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and others as Special Advisers.
Naija News reports that this was made known in a statement on Monday by Atiku Abubakar’s Media Adviser, Paul Ibe.
According to the statement, Atiku also appointed former presidential aspirant, Anyim Pius Anyim.
Ibrahim Shekarau who recently joined the PDP from the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) was also appointed as an Adviser.
The statement reads, “Ahead of the commencement of the 2023 election campaign on Wednesday, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar has made key appointments of Special Advisers aimed at strengthening his presidential campaign team.
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“The appointees are former Senate Presidents, Dr. Bukola Saraki as Special Envoy to the presidential candidate and Senator Pius Anyim, as Special Adviser.
“Also appointed as Special Advisers to the candidate are former governor of Kano State, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Senator Ehigie Uzamere.
“Former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus was also appointed as Technical Adviser to the presidential candidate.
“The appointments are to take immediate effect.”
Atiku Abubakar charged the appointees to use their vast political experiences in ensuring that the PDP presidential campaign records resounding success in the 2023 election.
Naija News reports that there is no place for Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State among the new appointees.
Wike and Atiku have been at loggerheads over the refusal of the National Chairman of the PDP, Iyorchia Ayu, to resign.
Wike and his loyalists had last week Wednesday pulled out of the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation.
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