The governorship candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), in Abia State, Uche Ogah, ha been plunged into fresh crisis after the electioneering campaign has commenced in the state. The crisis is part of the consequences of the controversial primary elections conducted by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party where some candidates were said to be imposed against the populist choice.
Accordingly, a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Thursday nullified the candidacy of Uche Ogah and upheld Chief Ikechi Emenike as APC authentic candidate for the March 2, 2019 governorship poll in Abia State.
Emenike had emerged from the parallel primary election from the Dr. Emmanuel Ndukwe State Executives which has legal recognition while Uche Ogah emerged from the faction led by Hon. Donatus Nwankpa, which APC National Chairman preferred to impose on the party members in the state.
A Federal High Court in Abuja had on November 29, 2018, on suit No. FCT/HC/CV/3097/18 nullified the candidacy of Ogah, insisting that Emenike was the validly nominated candidate of APC since he emerged from the authentic state leadership of Abia APC
In disregard of the court order, the national leadership of APC submitted Ogah’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which published his name on the list of governorship candidates. Oshiomhole further proceeded to hand over the party’s flag to Ogah on January 11, 2019, at a campaign rally organised by the faction from which he emerged.
Undermining the court order, Ogah and his Abia APC faction still proceeded to court and applied for stay of execution of the order voiding his candidacy to enable him to stand for the forthcoming governorship poll.
The presiding Judge of the FCT High Court, Kubwa, Justice K.N. Ogbonnaya, in his ruling on Thursday, dismissed the application for stay of execution, affirming that Emenike remains the authentic APC governorship candidate.
Justice Ogbonnaya declared that it amounted to “clear abuse of judicial process” for Ogah and Oshiomhole to disobey the court and turn round to seek redress, describing the application for stay of execution as “unmeritorious and un-grantable”.
The judge lambasted both the national leadership of APC and INEC for not allowing the plaintiff (Emenike) to benefit from the court judgment by publishing Ogah’s name on the list of governorship candidates in disobedience to the court order.
However, APC factional leader in Abia, Nwankpa, noted that his faction has filed an appeal on the judgment, saying that there have been conflicting court rulings on the matter of the governorship candidate.
Counsel to Emenike, Somadila Uzodinma also said in Umuahia that the court ruling has put to rest any doubt on the true governorship candidate of APC in Abia, noting that hence, Emenike “shall definitely fly the flag of Abia APC in the forthcoming election.”