Governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abia state, Chief Daniel Eke, has vowed to challenge the Appeal Court judgment that validated the candidacy of Chief Ikechi Emenike.
Eke made the disclosure in a reaction to Wednesday’s judgment by the Court of Appeal, Owerri Division, presided over by Justice Pemu Rita Nosakhare.
He had approached the appellate court in a suit No. CA/OW/419/2022 to quash the October 7 judgment of the Umuahia Federal High Court in the suit No. FHC/UM/CS/96/2022.
Justice Evelyn Anyadike of the lower court had ruled that Eke lacked the locus standi to challenge the outcomes of the May 26 parallel governorship primaries that produced two candidates.
While Emenike emerged from an indirect primary, the former Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Chief Uche Ogah, emerged from a direct primary election.
Chief Eke, who expressed dissatisfaction with the appellate court’s decision and vowed to approach the Supreme Court to upturn the ruling, however, hailed the appellate court’s decision to overrule the lower court on the issue of locus standi.
“This is good for us because it shows that we now can approach the Supreme Court to invalidate Emenike’s candidacy,” he added.
The appellate court averred that Eke showed evidence to prove that he is a card-carrying member of APC, having registered in his Igbere Ward.
It further affirmed that having paid N50 million for the party’s nomination and expression of interest forms, he became a governorship aspirant, hence had the locus standi to prosecute the suit.
Eke’s Counsel, Chief Obinna Nkume, said that it was a wrong decision by the court to validate the candidacy of Emenike, who was the second respondent in the suit, whereas he did not ask for it.
Nkume said in an interview with newsmen that the pronouncement by Nosakhare that Eke’s appeal succeeded in part gave impetus to his resolve to approach the apex court.
He said: “With the issue of locus standi resolved in Eke’s favour, the coast has become clearer for Eke to get the Supreme Court to adjudicate on his originating summons.”
Eke had alleged in his suit that Emenike’s primary election was conducted in contravention of the Electoral Act and directive of the National Working Committee (NWC) of APC.
He said that the NWC had ordered for direct mode of primary election in Abia, whereas Emenike emerged from an indirect primary election.
Nkume further said that the Independent National Electoral Commission posited in court that it did not monitor Emenike’s indirect primary as provided by the Electoral Act.
He said that it was worrisome that the Appeal Court discountenanced such a fundamental infraction but went ahead to validate Emenike’s candidacy.
He also said that the appellate court judgment tactically eliminated Ogah, the third respondent and claimant to the APC governorship candidacy, from the suit.
Nkume said that Eke’s continued pursuit for justice “has been made simpler by the Appeal Court judgment.”