The battle for the governorship ticket of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) on Thursday took a different turn, as the High Court sitting in Owerri has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognize Hon. Chukwuma Umeoji and Chief Jude Okeke as the governorship candidate and National Chairman of the party respectively.
The Owerri High Court struck out a fresh court action brought by Victor Oye to stop Chukwuma Umeoji and reaffirmed its earlier judgment declaring the Owerri Convention that produced Jude Okeke as APGA Chairman valid.
The Court directed INEC to accept and continue to recognize and publish the name of Hon. Chukwuma Umeoji, who emerged as APGA Governorship Candidate in Awka as the candidate of the party and to mandatorily include his name in all electoral processes for the Anambra governorship election.
The ruling was sequel to an application for stay of execution and leave to appeal filed by Chief Victor Oye wherein the court granted him leave to appeal but refused to grant the order for stay of execution but rather went ahead to reaffirm its earlier judgment.
The Court expressly stated that INEC cannot evade its duty to comply with the order of the Court declaring Umeoji as the candidate
The Court added that the commission has a legal obligation to continue to carry out, obey and comply with the extant, valid and subsisting Judgment of this Court delivered on 28th July, 2021, which declared Umeoji candidate and ordered INEC to continue to recognize him and Jude Okeke pending the determination of the appeal filed by Victor Oye at Appeal Court Owerri.
INEC is restrained from attempting to remove the name of Hon. Chukwuma Umeoji as candidate of APGA from its list as being rumoured that it was under pressure to so do.
It would be recalled that the Court of Appeal Kano Division had on the 10th of August, 2021 set aside another judgment of the Jigawa High Court which also held that Chief Jude Okeke is National Chairman of APGA and only governorship Congress held by him shall be valid without making any orders as to who should be candidate of the party.