Imo North/South: Court dismisses suit challenging Ugochinyere candidacy

From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

A Federal High Court has dismissed a suit challenging the primary election of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) that produced Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere as the party’s candidate for Ideato North and South Federal constituency in Imo State.

Ugochinyere has since emerged as the Senator-Elect for the senatorial seat at the February 25 National Assembly election.

Justice BO Quadric sitting in the Owerri division of the court specifically dismissed a suit by the Labour Party candidate, Paschal Obi and upheld the result of the disputed primary election that produced Ugochinyere.

Justice Quadric in his judgment described the suit as an academic exercise and lacking in merit as issues of party primaries are pre-election matters that have a 14 days time frame from the date of occurrence for it to be challenged.

The court equally noted that the suit by Paschal Obi and Labour Party is now statute barred and can’t be reopened again.

In addition, the Judge further held that going by decided Supreme Court decisions and amendments to the constitution only the party that participated in the primary can bring an action to challenge the primary venue and another political party lacks the merit and locus to institute such an action which supreme Court in numerous judgements have declared it dead on arrival once filed outside 14 days and also filed by a party that didn’t participate in the primaries.

The issue of the venue of the primary that produced Ikenga has been challenged by APC and the LP in the past for which Ikenga defeated them all including the one that went to the Supreme Court where it affirmed his emergence as the PDP Candidate.

This latest judgment by the Federal High Court Owerri has reaffirmed the well-known legal principles and foundation that the election petition tribunal will naturally follow in the event of another repeated challenge or litigation on the same issues that the Federal High Court, appeal, supreme Court and just today, the Federal High Court have repeatedly declared is a closed case going by the fact that the cases are pre-elections and are statute-barred, and lacking in locus as only those who participated in the primary can challenge it and not another party in addition to the fact that the venue of the primaries was in accordance with the exigencies of that time occasioned by the worsened and total collapse of security in Ideato Federal Constituency.

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