Home » Court Rejects Bid to Oust Labour Party Candidate in Imo Election

Court Rejects Bid to Oust Labour Party Candidate in Imo Election


by Victor Adetimilehin

IMO State Governorship Election: Court dismisses faction’s attempt to replace Labour Party candidate.


In a dramatic turn of events merely 48 hours before the highly anticipated Imo State governorship election, a Federal High Court in Abuja delivered a significant blow to the Lamidi Apapa-led faction of the Labour Party. The court, presided over by Justice Inyang Ekwo, dismissed an ex-parte motion aimed at preventing Senator Athan Achonu, the Labour Party candidate, from participating in the upcoming contest.


Contrary to the expectations of the Apapa faction, Justice Ekwo rejected their application, ordering the service of court processes on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). This procedural move allows INEC to file its response to the suit before any decisive action is taken. The case has been adjourned for further mention, adding an element of suspense to the unfolding legal drama.


The crux of the matter lies in the Apapa faction’s attempt to secure an interim injunction against INEC, restraining the electoral body from recognizing any candidate other than Chief Ukaegbu Joseph. Joseph emerged from a faction-held primary poll on April 16, and the faction insists he is the rightful gubernatorial candidate for the Imo State election slated for November 12.


The Apapa faction further sought a mandatory injunction, urging the court to compel INEC to recognize and upload Ukaegbu Joseph’s name as the authentic gubernatorial candidate. Additionally, they demanded an order for INEC to acknowledge Apapa as the National Chairman of the party and Alhaji Lawal Saleh as the National Secretary.


However, Justice Ekwo, after hearing arguments from the faction’s legal team led by Mr. Mohammed Mohammed, SAN, declined to grant the orders without INEC’s perspective on the matter. The judge emphasized the importance of INEC presenting its side, stating, “I am not granting you this application today, and you have to bring INEC to court to come and explain its own side in this matter.”


The backdrop to this legal wrangling involves the protracted leadership tussle between the Apapa-led faction and the Julius Abure-led group. The latter conducted the primary poll that produced Mr. Peter Obi as the Labour Party’s candidate in the last presidential election. The internal strife within the party adds complexity to the already heated political landscape in Imo State.


As the legal battle unfolds, the citizens of Imo State find themselves at the intersection of political maneuvering and legal intricacies. With the governorship election looming, the resilience of democratic processes and the ability of the legal system to ensure a fair and transparent electoral contest become crucial focal points.


Source: [Vanguard]


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