The Federal High Court in Abuja has nullified Senator Andy Uba’s participation in the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment on Monday, held that Uba was never a candidate in the election having emerged from an illegally conducted primary election by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The judge held that the plaintiff, George Moghalu, proved that the APC did not conduct a valid primary election from which Uba claimed to have emerged as the party’s candidate.
The judgment was on a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/648/201, with the APC, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Uba as listed as defendants.
Moghalu had queried the legitimacy of the governorship primary election purportedly conducted by the APC on June 26, 2021, which allegedly produced Uba as the party”s candidate for the November 6, 2021 election.
“The real issue in this case, which both the first defendant (APC) and third defendant (Uba) seem not to understand is not whether accredited members of the first defendant voted on 26th June, 2021 but whether there was any primary election at all conducted in accordance with the mandatory provisions of both the Electoral Act (as amended) and first defendant’s Guidelines for the Nomination of Candidates for the Anambra 2021 Gubernatorial Election-Direct Primaries (Option A4).
“When a primary election is illegal, the fact that such illegal election was monitored by the Nigeria Police (or other security agencies) as averred in paragraph 25 (ii) of the third defendant’s counter-affidavit is of no moment.
“The combination of the evidence, in this case, by both the first and third defendants has created doubt in me that gubernatorial primary election of the first defendant for the nomination of its candidate for the Anambra State Governorship held at all or was held in accordance with the provisions of the Act (as amended) and first defendant’s Guidelines for the Electoral f Nomination of Candidates for the Anambra 2021 Gubernatorial Election Direct Primaries (Option A4)
“It is clear from the evidence in this case that the first defendant connived with the third defendant to conduct election outside the time prescribed by Articles 17 (vi) and 18(e), (g) and (i) of the first defendant’s Guidelines for the Nomination of Candidates for the Anambra 2021 Gubernatorial Election-Direct Primaries (Option A4) to the exclusion of the plaintiff.
“At the end, the votes in Exhibit MAM 9 of the third defendant were gratuitously award to other aspirants while the third defendant retained the highest votes. Now, the ingenuity of the first and third defendants has resulted in illegality and has backfired.
“In the end, it is my finding that the plaintiff has demonstrated upon a preponderance of the evidence that the gubernatorial primary election of the first defendant was not conducted in accordance with the provisions of sections 85 (2) and 87(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and Articles 17 (vi) and 18(e),(g) and (i) of first defendant’s Guidelines for the Nomination of Candidates for the Anambra 2021 Gubernatorial Election-Direct Primaries (Option A4).
“Therefore, the case of the plaintiff succeeds on the merit,” the judge said.
Justice Ekwo declared that the primary held by the APC was not in compliance with relevant laws and guidelines.
The judge issued an order compelling INEC to delist the APC and Uba from among the list of political parties and candidates for the November 6 election.
He retrained Uba from further holing himself out or parading himself as a candidate in the election.
The judge ordered the APC to refund to the plaintiff the N22,500.000 he paid for expression of interest and nomination forms since the party failed to conduct a valid primary.