A Federal High Court in Owerri on Monday sacked another All Progressives Congress House of Reps member-elect for Nkwerre/Nwangele/Njaba/Isu Federal Constituency of Imo State, Hon Ugonna Ozurigbo.
It would be recalled that two weeks ago, a Federal High Court nullified the re-election of the sitting Reps member for Okigwe South, Hon Chike Okafor and his certificate of return re-issued to Hon. Emeka Nwajiuba of the Accord Party who came second in the election.
Justice P.A. Rigime, who delivered the judgment, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to issue a certificate of return to Kingsley Echendu of the People’s Democratic Party.
Neither the PDP nor its candidate was a party in the suit.
The court said that Harrison Nwadike, who is the plaintiff, was the “rightful winner” of the All Progressives Congress primary election in the federal constituency.
Nwadike had dragged, APC, and INEC to court over the submission of Ozurigbo’s name as the candidate of the party.
Nwadike, who prayed the court to declare him the APC rightful candidate, contended that automatic tickets were unknown to the constitution.
The court in its judgment agreed with the petitioner that automatic tickets were unknown to law.
The justice who said that the candidacy of Ozurigbo was illegitimate, ordered INEC to issue the PDP candidate, Echendu, who came second in the election with a certificate of return as the rightful winner of the election.
The petitioner who spoke to our correspondent after the judgment was delivered, said that while he agreed with the court that he was the rightful winner of the APC primary election in the federal constituency, it was wrong for the court to have declared the PDP candidate the lawful winner of the general election.
He said that he would go to court to challenge the aspect of the judgment which ordered INEC to issue a certificate of return to the PDP candidate.
But counsel to the PDP candidate, who is the beneficiary of the court judgment, Stanley Imo, told our correspondent that the court was right to have declared his client the rightful winner of the election.
He said: “The law is very clear on this. Harrison Nwadike did not participate in all the stages of the election but my client did. Now that the court held that Ugonna Ozurigbo was not the rightful candidate of the APC (and) said that the second runner-up who is my client that participated in all the stages of the elections should be issued with the certificate of return.”
Ozuruigbo, who had resigned his position as the Deputy Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly last Wednesday, was a member of the Governor Rochas Okorocha faction of the state APC.