ICYMI: Court sacks APC lawmaker, declares PDP winner in Kogi

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Friday Olokor, Abuja

Justice Inyang Ekwo of a Federal High Court in Abuja, on Friday, sacked an All Progressives Congress lawmaker representing the Ibaji constituency in Kogi State House of Assembly, Atule Egbunu.

The legislator who had been declared the winner of a bye-election on account of his 8,515 votes was sacked on the ground that he was unlawfully nominated by the APC.

Justice Ekwo, while delivering judgment in a suit instituted by an APC chieftain, Joseph Enemona, against his party (APC) and four others, declared Daniel Enefola of the Peoples Democratic Party as the lawmaker for Ibaji constituency, having come second with 4, 564 votes in the December 5, 2020 state election.

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Enemona, a Kogi State House of Assembly aspirant, on the platform of the APC had dragged the party before the Federal High Court, challenging the legality of the September 3, 2020, primary election claimed to have been conducted by his party.

His grouse, among others, was that the party unlawfully excluded six other aspirants from the primary election and also did not allow delegates to vote at the poll.

The plaintiff also asserted that while the law stipulated that the primary election be conducted at the party secretariat in Onyedega, the APC officials allegedly conducted a purported primary election in a Shopping Mall.

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Enemona also hinged his case on the ground that while the APC guidelines stipulated direct primary election, the APC officials manipulated the guidelines and purportedly used an indirect system to pick the purported candidate.

He, therefore, demanded that the purported nomination of Egbunu be voided and another primary election conducted.

However, Justice Ekwo, after reviewing submissions by parties in the matter, agreed that the APC did not conduct a primary election known to law.

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The Judge held that while seven aspirants were to participate in the primary election, the party unlawfully manoeuvred the system and made the participation for a single candidate.

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He also held that the APC ran afoul of the law by conducting the purported primary election outside the party secretariat as required by law.

Justice Ekwo also faulted the purported substitution done between Matthew Oguche and Atule Egbunu on the ground that Oguche was not one of the legitimate aspirants before the election.

He, therefore, declared the purported APC primary election as illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void.

According to him, the candidate of the party that came second in the December 5, 2020 bye-election should be inaugurated as the lawmaker for Ibaji constituency.

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