At Abuja on Thursday 13th of December, 2018, the Federal High Court, annulled the All Progressives Grand Alliance’s (APGA) primary which produced the Anambra South Senatorial candidate for 2019 elections.
The primary was conducted on the 3rd October, 2018, produced one Nicholas Ukachukwu as the party’s candidate for the senatorial district election.
Delivering judgement in a suit filed by an angry aspirant for the same position, Dr. Okey Chidolue, Justice Valentine Ashi, agreed with the complainant that the primary was marred by irregularities and was conducted in disregard to the relevant provisions of the Nigerian Constitution, the Electoral Act and the party’s electoral guidelines.
Justice Valentine Ashi went ahead to nullify the primary, as well as the party’s ticket issued to Ukachukwu after he was declared winner of the party’s primary.
But the judgment was short of ordering a fresh primary or directing Dr. Chidolue to take over as the true candidate of the party for the senatorial election.
Invalidating the primary, the judge criticised the party’s claim that Mr. Ukachukwu was elected through an electoral college that comprised three delegates from each of the wards in the senatorial district.
Justice Ashi also noted that the party failed to produce the names of the delegates that participated in the exercise.
The Judge noted that the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) claim before the court that the party refused to furnish its officials on the ground to monitor the primary, with the list of the delegates, was another proof that the election was fraudulent.
He also stated, “The question to be asked here is this; if the defendants were certain that they were using the legitimate list of delegates, why did they have to hide it from INEC officials?
“In totality, the defendants’ case is so weak that it has only helped to strengthen the plaintiff’s case.”
The suit marked CV/3054/2018 was filed by Dr. Okey Chidolue.
The National Chairman of the Party, Chief Victor Oye; the Anambra State Chairman of the party, Mr. Norbert Obi; Mr. Ukachukwu and INEC were joined as the first to fifth defendants.
The petitioner had among other things, requested the court to determine, “that having regards to the provisions of sections 223 and 224 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), section 87(4) (c) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), the APGA Constitution 2014 (as amended) and the APGA Electoral Guidelines for Primary Elections 2018, the 3rd of October 2018 Anambra South Senatorial District primary of the 1st Defendant was illegal, null and void.”