The court of appeal sitting in Abuja has affirmed Ikechi Emenike as the Abia governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2023 election.
Delivering judgment on three appeals filed before the court, a three-member panel of the appellate court led by Olabisi Ige validated the primary held on May 26 which produced Emenike.
The Abia APC had held parallel governorship primaries in the state that produced Uche Ogah and Emenike as candidates of the party.
On May 26, the APC declared Emenike the winner of the governorship primary in the state.
On November 11, Binta Nyako, a federal high court judge, sacked Emenike and ordered INEC to recognise Ogah as the party’s governorship candidate in the state.
Both APC and Emenike had filed separate appeals challenging the verdict delivered by Nyako.
Dan Eke, another aspirant, also filed his appeal challenging the judgment of the trial judge that recognised Ogah’s candidacy.
In the unanimous verdict, Ige, who led the appeal court panel, read out the names of the members sent by the APC national secretariat to conduct the governorship primary that produced Emenike, affirming that the exercise was valid.
He faulted the report of INEC which Ogah had used to back his claims, saying a report by the electoral umpire “cannot validate an otherwise invalid primary”.
“You cannot place something on nothing and expect it to stand. The INEC report is inchoate and cannot validate the primary relied on by Ogah,” the court held.
In July, a court of appeal in Owerri, Abia, had dismissed a suit by Ogah, against Emenike’s nomination as the governorship candidate of the APC.
The appellate court dismissed Ogah’s motion to be joined as an interested party in a judgement of an Abia high court which affirmed Emenike’s nomination.