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Imo court declares Umeoji APGA candidate

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An Owerri, Imo State, High court has again declared Chukwuma Umeoji as the All Progressive Grand Alliance candidate for the Anambra governorship election scheduled to hold on November 6, 2021.

The judgement also favoured both Chief Jude Okeke as the chairman of the party, as earlier recognised by the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC).

The court presided over by Justice B.C. Iheaka in her landmark ruling, struck out a fresh court action brought by Victor Oye to stop Chukwuma Umeoji, and reaffirmed her earlier judgment, declaring the Owerri Convention that produced Jude Okeke as APGA Chairman valid and directing INEC to accept and continue to recognise 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.

The 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 the court delivered on 28th July 2021, which declared Umeoji candidate and ordered INEC to continue to recognise him and Jude Okeke pending the determination of the appeal filed by Victor Oye at Appeal Court Owerri.

By the ruling, INEC is directly restrained from attempting to remove the name of Chukwuma Umeoji as the candidate of APGA from its list as being rumoured that it was under pressure to so do

It would be recalled that the Court of Appeal, Kano Division, had on the 10th of August, 2021 set aside another judgment of the Jigawa High Court, which also held that Chief Jude Okeke is National Chairman of APGA and the 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 Professor Charles Soludo and 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 being 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.

The implication of this is that the judgment of Justice B. C. Iheka of the Owerri High Court making direct orders against INEC, the commission is bound to obey the judgment and continue to maintain the name of Umeoji as the candidate of APGA for the governorship election.

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