Relief came the way of the Labour Party and perhaps its presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, as the party’s candidate for his constituency, Senator Victor Umeh, was restored to the ballot for Saturday’s National Assembly election, following a judgment of the Court of Appeal in Awka, the Anambra State capital on Thursday.
However, with less than two days to the election, the counsel to Peoples Democratic Party candidate who initiated the case at the lower court. Chief Beluolisa Nwofor, SAN, days he will appeal the judgment at the Supreme Court.
In affirming Umeh to contest for the Anambra Central Senatorial District, where Obi hails from, the appeal court held that the suit that disqualified him at the Federal High Court, Awka was statute barred and lacked locus.
Recall that the PDP’s senatorial candidate, Mrs Uche Ekwunife, got Umeh disqualified from Saturday’s election last January because, as she told the high court, that he did not resign from the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, before picking the ticket on LP.
The LP and Umeh through their counsel, Chief Alex Ejesieme, SAN, and Patrick Ikwetoh appealed the judgment for lack of locus by the respondents and prayed the court to set aside the judgment.
Last Saturday, Senator Umeh’s presence at the debate organized for National Assembly candidates in the coming general election by a consortium led by the Nigeria Union Journalists (NUJ), Radio Theater and Television Art Workers Union(RATTAWU) put a dent on the event.
Umeh, just like Hon Dozie Nwankwo, Senator Uche Ekwunife, Princess Ezekwe, Chief Kodilichukwu Okelekwe and Dr Christian Umeadi is running for the Anambra Central Senatorial seat for the Labour Party(LP).
Everything had appeared normal until Ekwunife took a swipe at the organizers for introducing one of the candidates who had called in earlier for permission to enable him honour his doctor’s appointment.
She suggested that the latest entrant be subjected to three straight questions they had taken, to qualify him to get to the stage they were. But when it was thrown open to the other candidates present, the idea was defeated by three against two votes.
While expressing bitterness for losing out, Ekwunife raised the issue of the presence of Umeh, who had been disqualified to contest by a court.
Apparently sensing that she wouldn’t have her way a second time, Ekwunife stormed out.
She was quickly followed behind by the candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party(NNPP) -Princess Ezekwe.
According to Ekwunife, the Federal High Court presided over by Justice H. A. Nganjiwa had on January 27,2023 disqualified Umeh as a candidate.
She said he was not supposed to appear on the programme. And that in so doing, that whatever was said or done in the debate would be a null and void, and of no effect.
She emphasised that she wouldn’t want to be part of or accessory to any such illegality. She walked out of the live studio being streamed on various social media platforms.
Ezekwe, who was appearing in the political firmament of the state for the first time, was so incensed she took on the organisers and co-candidates for voting to admit a candidate who came few minutes after kickoff, She stormed out of the live session.