11 hours ago/
The Federal High Court, Abuja, has declared George Ogara as the authentic governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Enugu state.
Justice Inyang Ekwo on Tuesday ordered that Mr Ogara’s name be forwarded to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the duly nominated governorship candidate of the APC in Enugu state.
This, he said, was because Mr Ogara scored the highest votes cast in the 270 wards of the 17 local government areas of the state.
Mr Ogara had filed a suit against Ayogu Eze; the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole; Moses Momoh and INEC before the court, challenging Mr Eze’s emergence as the APC governorship candidate for the March 2, elections.
Justice Ekwo, therefore, directed the INEC to recognise Mr Ogara as the candidate of the APC for the purpose of 2019 governorship election in the state.
He held that the direct primary election of the party that produced Mr Ogara as the party’s governorship candidate was in compliance with the party’s guidelines as well as the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).
The judge restrained INEC from accepting any other name than Mr Ogara’s, for the purpose of the election in Enugu state.
“The plaintiff, having scored the highest number of votes cast by members of the APC in Enugu state for the governorship direct primary election at the 260 wards, is the nominated candidate of the APC,” the judge said.
Justice Ekwo held that Mr Oshiomhole, Mr Momoh and the APC’s refusal, neglect and/or failure to forward Mr Ogara’s name to INEC as the candidate of APC contravened the law.
He also held that the refusal of INEC to publish Mr Ogara’s name as the candidate of APC for the governorship election was contrary to provisions of Section 87 (3) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and Article 20 of the APC Constitution.
In his reaction, Mr Eze vowed to reclaim his ticket.
Mr Eze made the vow in a statement issued by his campaign organisation’s chief spokesperson, Okey Ezirigwe, in Enugu on Tuesday.
Mr Ezirigwe said that the movement towards President Buhari’s re-election and the decisive victory in the governorship elections in Enugu State remained `unwaveringly’ on course.
“Our train is on the move. There is no stopping this great Rescue race to victory
“Our lawyers have briefed us about a strange judgment by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja which tends to void the primaries conducted by the party in Enugu State.
“We want our teeming party supporters to disregard this reckless adventure from the bench, an adventure they knew would be discharged in due course.
“Our lawyers have assured us that all necessary legal steps are being taken to discharge this obvious miscarriage of justice within the next couple of days.
“Our party faithful and supporters from across the parties should remain calm and resolute while our lawyers are dealing with this minor distraction and irritation.
“We are however, humbled by the overwhelming outpouring of solidarity from our large supporters and ever growing support base, not only from every corner of our dear Enugu but from beyond.
“We appreciate their calling our attention to a curious Abuja court order which, as the saying goes, is really of no issue at all,” he said.
The spokesperson said Mr Eze remained the candidate of APC in Enugu State.
He said that they were going on with their campaign in full assurance that Mr Eze would emerge as the Governor of Enugu State in March 2.
Mr Ezirigwe said that the alleged celebration by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its leadership over this judgment had further indicated that Mr Eze was a big scare to the rattled PDP.
He called on the teeming supporters to ignore the court decision “purchased by a desperate political party for their sponsored agent to cause distraction” and continue with the already laid down campaign programmes.
Mr Ezirigwe used the opportunity to congratulate the APC on the victory secured at the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt in respect to the Rivers State governorship and other candidates.