Godwin Tsa, Abuja
A House of Representatives member for the Ehime Mbano/Obowo/Ihitte Uboma federal constituency in Imo State, Hon. Chike Okafor said he remained a candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2019 elections in the state.
The federal lawmaker who is the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Healthcare Services, was reacting to a judgment of Justice Kawu Bello of Abuja High Court sitting in Kubwa division, which barred the APC from fielding a candidate for the said federal constituency.
Okafor who spoke through his lawyer, Munachimso Okere, explained that contrary to media reports, he was not a party in the suit which gave rise to the judgment.
According to a statement signed his lawyer, Okafor insisted that he remains the APC candidate for the Saturday election. This is even as he stressed that Okafor didn’t participate in the primary which the aspirant, Maryann, Chioma Uzoma, dragged another aspirant, Mr. Emeka Nwajuiba to court.
The statement reads: “We hereby categorically state that our client was not barred from contesting the rescheduled House of Representatives election for Ehime Mbano/ Obowo/ Ihitte Uboma federal constituency of Imo State, this Saturday the 23rd of February in any way by the ruling of Hon Justice Kawu Bello of the FCT High Court Kubwa in the case between Maryann Chioma Uzoma against the All progressives Congress, Emeka Nwajiuba and INEC.
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A copious look at the copy of the ruling clearly shows as follows: “That Hon Chike Okafor is not listed in this suit as a party and its trite law that judgments are only binding against parties.
“That the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by this ruling was specifically barred from recognizing or listing the name of the 2nd respondent Emeka Nwajiuba as the candidate of APC in this election and didn’t bar INEC from accepting another name as candidate of APC for this election.
“It is important to note that the primaries in this case seem to be the one conducted by the defunct Imo APC coalition splinter group which was not the INEC-recognised APC primaries for Ehime Mbano/ Obowo/ Ihitte Uboma federal constituency of Imo State and so is of no moment a cause a court cannot legalise an illegality.
“It is important to note that the primaries contested and won by Hon. Okafor is not in issue in this matter and so still stands unchallenged.
“This ruling has been overtaken by events because the named person it is against, Emeka Nwajiuba, has since left APC to Accord Party and therefore INEC has nothing to enforce.
“Consequently it’s important to state that our client is on the ballot for Saturday’s election and we hereby call on the public and the good people of Ehime Mbano/ Obowo/ Ihitte Uboma federal constituency of Imo State to disregard the rumour being circulated by desperate political opponents against Hon Okafor’s candidacy; INEC has still listed him as a bona-fide candidate for Saturday’s election.”