The Court of Appeal, Abuja division, on Wednesday voided the election of Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba and restored the certificate of return issued to Chike Okafor of the All Progressives Congress, APC, by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to represent Ehimembano/Ihiteuboma/Obowo Federal Constituency of Imo State.
Nwajiuba was recently nominated and screened by the Senate as minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
But in a unanimous judgment, the appellate court set aside the April 29 order made by Justice Bello Kawu of an FCT High court, Kubuwa.
Kawu had directed INEC to issue a certificate of return to Emeka Nwajiuba as a member representing the federal constituency.
The three-man panel of the appellate court led by Justice Adamu Jauro, equally set aside the May 10, ruling of the trial court that it was functus officio to set aside his order of April 29, 2019 and the entire proceedings in suit No. FCT/HC/CV/423/2018.
Jauro accordingly allowed the appeals filed by Mr Okafor and the APC for being meritorious.
Okafor and his political party had in separate appeals challenged the decision of the trial court which had barred the, INEC, from accepting or listing the candidate of the APC in the rescheduled National Assembly election.
The Court of Appeal had in an earlier ruling, dismissed the notice of preliminary objection raised against the appeals by Mr Nwajiuba insisting to hear the appeals on merit.
In the first judgment which was on Mr Okafor’s appeal, Justice Jauro held “in the final analysis I find that the lower court has jurisdiction to have revisited its ruling which bordered on the fundamental rights of the appellant.
“Consequently, the appeal is meritorious and is hereby allowed only on reliefs one and two.”