From Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki
Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, yesterday, debunked reports in some sections of the media that the Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki disqualified him from contesting the All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial ticket for Ebonyi South.
APC had submitted Governor Umahi’s name after he lost his bid to secure the party’s presidential ticket.
The party submitted the Governor’s name after his younger brother, Austine Umahi, who had earlier won the election in May, reportedly withdrawn from the contest.
However, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) while publishing the names of successful senatorial candidates failed to publish his name.
Worried by the development, the governor, through his lawyer, approached the Federal High Court in Abakaliki, asking it to compel INEC to publish the governor’s name as submitted by the party.
But the court, in a ruling, reportedly disqualified Umahi from further participation in the contest, and ordered for a fresh primary.
Commenting on the matter during a live programme on Channels Television, yesterday, Umahi said the court never disqualified him as roundly reported by the media.
“My lawyer went to court because INEC didn’t publish my name as submitted by my party, the APC. We went to court to ask the court to compel INEC to upload my name. But contrary to reports in the media that court disqualified me from contesting the Ebonyi South senatorial district election, the court only ordered for a fresh election.
“Although, I have not seen the court judgment, I have asked those who went to court, and I have also spoken to INEC lawyer who was in court and he confirmed to me that the court only ordered fresh election, and that I was never disqualified. This is very important.
“I think cancelling the election of June 9 may not be the fault of the judge; he only made use of the evidence before him. Those who joined in the suit, like the person that came second in the first primary, my sister, Ann Agom-Eze, and the PDP candidate in the zone, a serving senator, are ignorant of the law. “Expectedly, my lawyer raised an objection that Section 2(86) subsection 9 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, that their suits are status barred, because they joined the suit after the mandatory 14 days period.
“The matter is the election June 9 and from June 9 to June 20 when they joined is more than 14 days as required by the law,” he said.