Supreme Court declares Okadigbo, Ewuga validly elected senators

The Supreme Court Friday declared Margaret Okadigbo and Solomon Ewugu as validly nominated senators for Anambra and Nassarawa North senatorial constituencies respectively.

The rulings follow an appeal by John Okafor challenging the ruling of the court of Appeal, Abuja Division, which declared Ms. Okadigbo the lawful candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and winner of the Anambra North Senatorial District election conducted on April 16, 2011.

The Appeal court had in a unanimous decision delivered by Husseni Muktar held that “Lady Margery Chuba-Okadigbo having polled the highest number of votes in the primary election conducted in the state remains the candidate and winner of the Anambra North Senatorial seat in the National Assembly.”

The Supreme Court Friday affirmed the lower court’s decision.

The apex court panel that decided the case, led by Chukwuma Eneh, held that Ms. Okadigbo’s nomination was conducted by the legally recognized faction of the party in Enugu and also said Mr. Okafor lacked the locus standi to challenge the decision of the court of appeal.

The Supreme Court said it based its decision on the fact that Mr. Okafor did not participate in the primary election.

Unlike the ruling of the Appeal Court, the Supreme Court did not order the immediate swearing in of Ms. Okadigbo because it was not part of the reliefs sought. Her lawyers were advised to file for the relief.

The Supreme Court also Friday dismissed the appeal filed by Yusuf Nagogo challenging the decision of Court of Appeal, Benue Divisions which declared Solomon Ewuga as the validly nominated senatorial candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) for the Nassarwa North constituency.

The apex court declared Mr. Ewuga the senator-elect.

Mr. Nagogo went to court after a CPC primary election in which Mr. Ewuga was declared winner and the party nominated and forwarded his name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

However, INEC instead recognized Mr. Nagogo as candidate of the party and issued him a certificate of return after the election.

All the courts, including the Federal High Court, Lafia, and the Court of Appeal, Benue Division, ruled in favour of Mr. Ewuga, basing their judgments on the fact that pre-election matters are solely those of political parties and not INEC.

The Supreme Court, therefore, agreed with the lower court’s decision and declared Mr. Ewuga senator-elect for Nassarawa North consitituency.




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