The Supreme Court ruled in favour of the incumbent.
The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the election of Nkechi Nwaogu of PDP as senator representing Abia Central Senatorial District in the 2011 National Assembly election.
Delivering judgment, Justice Afolabi Fabiyi led other justices to hold that Osisioma Ngwa Local Government Area is in Abia Central Senatorial District.
Mr. Fabiyi said, “Consideration of declaratory relief will always call for a sober exercise of discretion, which must be carried out not only judicially but judiciously as well.
“Discretion is the art of being discrete in the extreme and where there appears to be a tie, the court is obliged to apply the sixth sense.
“At the onset, I stated the relevant facts as much as practicable.
“The crux of the matter relates to which Senatorial District of Abia Osisioma Ngwa Local Government Area belongs to.”
He said that the first respondent, as plaintiff (Emeka Atuma) before the trial court, maintained that Osisioma Ngwa Local Government Area falls into Abia South Senatorial District.
He noted that the appellant (Nwaogu) maintained that the exhibits relied on as evidence were not correct.
The judge added that “Nwaogu tendered exhibits which included result sheets in respect of previous elections in Abia Central Senatorial District, which showed that Osisioma Ngwa Local Government Area was part of the District.
“She also deposed to a counter affidavit that in the 1999 election, Sen. Bob Nwanunu was elected to represent Abia Central Senatorial District with Osisioma Ngwa Local Government, being part of the District.
“Also, there is an evidence that shows that in the 2003 election, Senator Chris Adighije was elected to represent Abia Central Senatorial District with Osisioma Ngwa Local Government Area forming part of the District.
“Nwaogu prayed the court to accept her arguments as the evidence remained unchallenged.’’
Mr. Fabiyi said “I feel that I am done with this issue. It is hereby resolved in favour of the appellant. In conclusion, the appeal is meritorious and it is hereby allowed.
“The judgment of the court below is hereby set aside, while that of the trial court is accordingly restored.’’
The judge stressed that “with the above conclusion in respect of the main appeal, the cross-appeal should be, and is hereby dismissed.
“The first respondent/cross-appellant (Atuma) shall pay the sum of N100,000 as cost to the appellant/cross-respondent (Nwaogu).’’
Mr. Atuma, a Senatorial aspirant in the 2011 National Assembly on the platform of the PDP, sought the determination of some controversies inherent in the dispute.
He sought the determination of whether by the combined provisions of sections 71 and 72 of the 1999 Constitution, Osisioma Ngwa Local Government Area of Abia could fall both into Abia South and Central Senatorial Districts.
He further sought the determination of whether Ms. Nwaogu, who at all material times an indigene of and resident within Osisioma Ngwa within Abia South Senatorial District, could lawfully contest for the position of a Senator in Abia Central Senatorial District.