…PDP, APGA Plan Court Action
…Insist APC Has No Clear candidate
…INEC In Confusion Over Who To Declare
The least is yet to be heard in Imo following the declaration of APC as the winner of the Okigwe Bye-Election held last Saturday, December 5.
This however follows the plans by the PDP as well as APGA to take the APC and INEC to court insisting that APC as a political party had no clear candidate for the polls given various and confusing court judgments and orders against the candidatures of Senator Araraume and Frank Ibezim.
This is even as the Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma had on Sunday called on INEC to declare Ibezim the winner of the polls insisting that Ibezim remains the APC candidate for the election by virtue of Appeal Court Judgment.
Uzodinma who disclosed this to the Government House crew said that he would not join issues with the INEC.
Senator Araraume had after the controversial APC primaries which the party after protracted meetings sent Ibezim’s name to the INEC as its candidate which Federal High Court had on the 6th of November declared him, Araraume winner of the primaries and ordered INEC to substitute him with Ibezim as the candidate of the party.
While Araraume’s name was submitted as the candidate, Ibezim proceeded to the Appeal Court, praying amongst others for the court to upturn the judgment of the lower court.
On the eve of the election, another court, the Federal High Court in Abuja gave an order restraining Ibezim from contesting both the Okigwe Senatorial election and subsequent elections in Nigeria on the grounds that he, Ibezim submitted a forged certificate to the APC and INEC during the party’s primaries.
Few minutes after the said court order given by Justice Ekwo, the court of Appeal, Owerri Division gave another judgment, declaring the embattled Ibzim as the candidate of the APC for the December 6 bye election.
While the court of Appeal judgment was still subsisting, Ararume filed a notice of Appeal at the Supreme Court a few hours after the Appeal Court judgment, therefore, claims to remain the candidate of the APC by virtue of filing the notice of Appeal which hitherto served as stay of execution of the Appeal Court judgment which declared Ibezim the candidate of the party.
With the following, therefore, PDP and the APGA which according to the INEC declared results came second and third, respectively were said to have put every arrangement in place to take both APC and INEC to court for the court to determine and decide whether or not the APC was supposed to field a candidate for the last Saturday’s election given the avalanche of court judgments and orders.
Speaking with Lead, one of the leaders of the APC who chose to speak on the guise of anonymity revealed that PDP won the election adding that APC should not field a candidate for the said election given various court orders and judgments.
However, announcing the results of the election, the Election Returning Officer, Hakeem Adikum, said “I hereby return the All Progressives Congress as the winner of the bye-election held in Imo North on Saturday, December 5.
According to him, APC won in five out of six local governments in the senatorial district namely Okigwe, Onuimo, Isiala Mbano, Ehime Mbano, and Ihitte Uboma LGAs, while the PDP won in one local government area, Obowo.
INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof Francis Ezeonu, said INEC was unable to return a candidate from the APC as the winner because of several Court orders for and against Ibezim and Araraume.
Prior to the election, the APC has been engulfed in crisis over who is the authentic candidate of the party for the polls.
Two court judgments had surfaced on Friday, one from the Appeal Court, Owerri, and another from Federal High Court, Abuja.
The Court of Appeal, Owerri, set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court that declared Senator Ifeanyi Ararume as the candidate of the party, faulting the judgment of the Federal High Court, Owerri, which nullified the candidacy of Mr. Frank Ibezim.
The Federal High Court, Abuja, in its judgment declared and restrained INEC from recognizing Mr. Frank Ibezim as the candidate of the party, on the grounds Frank Ibezim presented fake certificates to the APC and INEC.
The two court judgments may have forced INEC not to declare any of the “candidates” in the APC, as the winner of the election.
Meanwhile, official results announced by INEC for the election show that the APC polled a total of 36, 811 votes, while the PDP got 31,903 votes.
Below are results of the election from the six local governments.