The battle for the governorship ticket of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the chairmanship of the party has swung back in favor of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)-recognized candidate, Hon. Chukwuma Umeoji and Chief Jude Okeke.
This is following the landmark ruling of the High Court of Owerri today which struck out a fresh court action brought by Victor Oye to stop Chukwuma Umeoji and reaffirm its earlier judgment declaring the Owerri Convention that produced Jude Okeke as APGA Chairman valid and directing INEC to accept and continue to recognize and publish the name of Hon. Chukwuma Umeoji, who emerged as APGA Governorship Candidate in Awka, as the candidate of the party and to mandatorily include his name in all electoral processes for the Anambra governorship election.
This ruling was sequel to an application for stay of execution and leave to appeal filed by Chief Victor Oye wherein the court granted him leave to appeal but refused to grant the order for stay of execution but rather went ahead to reaffirm its earlier judgment.
The court expressly stated that INEC cannot evade its duty to comply with the orders of the court declaring Umeoji candidate and, therefore, has a legal obligation to continue to carry out, obey and comply with the extant, valid and subsisting judgment of this Court delivered on July 28, 2021, which declared Umeoji candidate and ordered INEC to continue to recognize him and Jude Okeke pending the determination of the appeal filed by Victor Oye at Appeal Court Owerri.
By today’s ruling, INEC is directly restrained from attempting to remove the name of Umeoji as the candidate of APGA from its list as it was rumored that it was under pressure to do so.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) today, August 19 published Soludo’s name and his Deputy Dr. Ibezim as the authentic APGA candidates for the November 6, 2021 election. This effectively throws out the rival, Chukwuma Umeoji.
It would be recalled that the Court of Appeal Kano Division had on August 10, 2021, set aside another judgment of the Jigawa High Court which also held that Chief Jude Okeke is National Chairman of APGA and only governorship Congress held by him shall be valid without making any orders as to who should be the candidate of the party.
The Kano Appeal Court did not delve into finding who, between Prof. Charles Soludo and Hon. Chukwuma Umeoji, should be the candidate of the party but rather in a controversial judgment and reversal of their earlier ruling that the appeal is statute-barred for been pre-election but still set aside the judgment as a nullity for want of fair hearing and lack of jurisdiction without making any consequential order of who is APGA Chairman or Candidate.