INEC replaces Ezeh with Ogbu-Aguocha on final list of NASS candidates

By Tony Edike on 04/04/2019

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Prince Ezeh as Senatorial aspirant under PDP
Prince Ezeh as Senatorial aspirant under PDP

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has removed Prince Lawrence Ezeh as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Enugu East senatorial district, citing a court order.

On the “final list of senatorial candidates” for the 2019 general elections published on its website, yesterday, INEC also replaced Ezeh's name with that of Princess Adaku Ogbu-Aguocha.

This development is coming three weeks after the National Assembly elections of March 9, 2019 in which INEC curiously retained Prince Ezeh as the APC candidate for Enugu East senatorial seat, despite an earlier court order issued on February 19, 2019 by the Federal High Court sitting in Enugu.

In the judgement, the court had sacked Ezeh as the APC senatorial candidate for Enugu East, declaring that he was not properly nominated by the ruling party.

It will be recalled that the court had further ruled that the plaintiff, Adaku Ogbu-Aguocha, who came second in the APC senatorial primary election held on October 2, 2018, was the rightful candidate since Uchenna Ezemba, who won the primary, had voluntarily stepped down.

Ezemba had, shortly after the primary election, announced her withdrawal to pave the way for Prince Ezeh, who lost his bid to fly the PDP flag.

Ezeh, after his defeat in the PDP senatorial primary, along with other aspirants, by the former governor of the state, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, defected to the APC where he was awarded the party's ticket with which he began his campaign ahead of the election.

The development irked other contestants including the plaintiff, who vowed to seek legal redress.

Consequently, Ogbu-Aguocha instituted the court action to challenge the decision of the party to field Ezeh whom she said never contested the APC primary and was not a member of the  party as at the time the primary election was held.

She, among other reliefs, prayed the court to declare her the duly elected candidate of the APC since Ezemba, who emerged winner of the primary, had withdrawn from the contest. 

The presiding judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba, in the judgement, dismissed the objection raised by the defendant's counsel that the case was statute-barred, explaining that the matter which arose from an act of impunity, centered on wrongful nomination and not substitution.

Declaring that the application by the plaintiff had merit and therefore succeeded, Justice Buba asked the first respondent, APC to forward the name of the applicant to the third respondent, INEC, as the recognized candidate for Enugu East without further delay.

But INEC had yet to comply with the court order as at the time of the senatorial election.

It remains to be seen what becomes of a recent petition brought before the National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Enugu by Prince Ezeh in which he is seeking to nullify the senatorial election overwhelmingly won by Senator Chimaroke Nnamani with a total of 128,843 votes to defeat other contestants, including Ezeh, who came a distant second with 14,225 votes.

A legal analyst told this reporter that his petition may no longer be tenable in the light of the latest development.

Posted 04/04/2019 03:47:24 AM


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