Alex Enumah in Abuja
Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court yesterday declared George Ogara as the authentic governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Enugu State.
Ogara had instituted a legal action at the court challenging the emergence of Senator Ayogu Eze as the APC governorship candidate for the 2019 general election.
Other defendants in the suit are the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole; Prof Moses Momoh and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Delivering judgment in the suit, Justice Ekwo ordered the APC to forward the name of Ogara to INEC as the governorship candidate of the APC in Enugu State, having scored the highest votes in the 270 wards of the 17 local government areas of the state.
Justice Ekwo in the judgement asked the electoral body to recognise Ogara as the candidate of the APC for the purpose of 2019 governorship election in the state.
The judge held that the direct primary election of the party that produced Ogara as the party’s governorship candidate was in compliance with the party’s guidelines as well as the Electoral Act.
The judge also restrained INEC from accepting any other name except that of Ogara for the purpose of the 2019 governorship election in the state, having scored the highest votes in the primary elections.
The court declared that the plaintiff, having scored the highest number of votes cast by members of the APC in Enugu State for the governorship direct primary election conducted on October 4, 2014, in the 260 wards, is the nominated candidate of the APC.
“Plaintiff’s name is entitled to be forwarded by the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants to the 5th defendant as the candidate of the 2nd and 4th defendants in the 2019 Enugu State governorship election.
“That the direct primary election for governorship aspirants conducted on October 4, 2018, wherein the plaintiff emerged as the winner having scored the highest number of votes cast in the said direct primary election for Enugu State governorship aspirants is consistent with and in compliance with the provisions of Section 87 (3) of the Electoral Act. 2010 (as amended) and Article 20 (iii) of the APC constitution 2014 (as amended),” the court held.
Justice Ekwo further held that the refusal, neglect and/or failure of Oshiomhole, Momoh and the APC, 2nd to 4th defendants to forward the name of the plaintiff to the 5th defendant as the candidate of the 4th defendant and the refusal of INEC to publish the name of the plaintiff as the candidate of APC for the governorship election is contrary to the provisions of Section 87 (3) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and Article 20 of the APC constitution.