A Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia, Abia State, on Thursday nullified the election of Kelechi Onuzuruike of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, representing Umuahia North Constituency in the Abia State House of Assembly.
Delivering judgment in the suit by Sunday Ajero also of APGA, the judge, Justice Daniel Osiagor, said Onuzuruike was not the authentic candidate of the party in the April 28, 2015 election in the state.
Osiagor held that Ajero was the validly elected candidate of APGA for Umuahia North Constituency and ordered Onuzuruike to vacate his seat within 30 days.
Ajaero had approached the court to declare him the rightful candidate of the party for the constituency seat in the assembly.
He contended that Onuzuruike emerged through a parallel party primary held outside the constituency, hence was not eligible to contest the election.
He said: “I am the product of the party primary duly conducted by the leadership of the party but my name was later substituted at the last minute with that of Onuzuruike.”
The judge, after considering the arguments of the plaintiff and defendant, held that the primary election that produced Onuzuriike “was not valid, since it was conducted outside the constituency concerned”.
He also held that the list of delegates for the primary election tendered by the plaintiff contained the names of authentic delegates.
Reacting to the judgment, Ajero’s counsel, Smart Apu, expressed joy that justice had been done and that the judgment had proved that falsehood “does not last for long”.
However, counsel to Onuzuruike, Uwandu Onyenakom, said he was surprised at the judgment.
Onyenakom said the party approved the use of its secretariat in Umuahia Central for the primary election that produced his client.
Onyenakom said his client had asked him to set the necessary machinery in motion to appeal the judgment.
The court awarded N8 million as cost to the plaintiff.