The Supreme Court has upheld the Court of Appeal judgment which awarded the Abia Central senatorial district ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to Hon. Samuel Ifeanyi Onuigbo.
This follows two appeal judgment delivered by the apex court in Abuja on Friday. Both appeals were filed by Hon. Emeka Atuma, and they both went in favour of Onuigbo
Affirming the judgment of the Court of Appeal Owerri Division, Justice Coram Agim of the Supreme Court said that Onuigbo is the legal and rightful candidate of the APC for the senatorial district, which was in line with the ruling of the Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri, Imo State capital.
Last 30 November, Justice Rita Nosakhare Pemu, who read the Court of Appeal judgment, said that Atuma never participated in the primary election conducted last 28 May by the APC for the Abia Central senatorial district.
According to the Court of Appeal, Onuigbo was the elected candidate of the APC having participated in the party’s primary and also purchased the party’s nomination and expression of interest forms.
In that judgment, the court set aside the ruling of the Federal High Court Umuahia, presided over by Justice Evelyn Anyadike, which declared Atuma winner of the primary election.
Onuigbo then approached the Supreme Court to contest judgment of the Court of Appeal, which declared null and void the substitution of the Onuigbo’s name as the validly elected candidate for that of the third respondent, Atuma.
There had allegations that the leadership of the state chapter of the APC planned to substitute Onuigbo with Atuma as the party’its senatorial candidate even as the parties await the ruling of the Supreme Court which was delivered on Friday.
The presidential campaign organisation of the party had paraded Atuma as one of the three senatorial candidates in the state, and used his photographs on various posters during its presidential candidate’s campaign in the state last Tuesday.
Onuigbo was also removed from the list of all 31 APC contestants for elective offices: three for Senate; eight for House of Representatives and 24 for House of Assembly.
Party stalwarts in the state said the APC leaders should have waited for the ruling of the highest court in the land