PDP Rejects High Court Judgment on Imo North Senatorial By-election

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By Chuks Okocha

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), has rejected in its entirety the March 18, 2020, judgment by the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, which ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue Certificate of Returns to Senator Ifeanyi Araraume within 72 hours.

The PDP said yesterday that the judgment further heightened its fears that the All Progressives Congress (APC) controlled federal government is bent on using certain officials within the judiciary to suppress the opposition and subvert the will of the people.

A statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr.Kola Ologbondiyan, said: “”Our party wonders how could a matter which has been decided by the Supreme Court be overruled by a Federal High Court.”

The PDP said that it was clear to all that the Supreme Court on February 5, 2021, upheld the ruling of the Court of Appeal, which nullified the candidature of Senator Ifeanyi Araraume as the APC candidate for Imo North Senatorial District’s bye-election.

Ologbondiyan said: “That verdict of the Supreme Court put to rest the candidature of Senator Ifeanyi Araraume.

“It is, therefore, bizarre that a Federal High Court presided over by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, which Senate Ifeanyi Araraume had approached to declare him the authentic candidate and order the INEC to issue him Certificate of Returns had done so in flagrant disregard to the Supreme Court ruling on the same matter.”

The PDP held that this is a direct miscarriage of justice, which poses great danger to democracy and should not be allowed to stand.

It said: “Our candidate for the December 5, 2020, Imo North senatorial bye-election, Mr. Emmanuel Okewulonu, polled the highest valid votes cast at that election since courts of competent jurisdictions disqualified the two APC’s candidates, Mr. Frank Ibezim and Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, less than 24 hours to the election.

“On the strength of the disqualifications, the names of these two candidates were conspicuously excluded by the INEC in the final list that was released. They were not part of the total election process.”

Moreover, the PDP said that INEC’s refusal to declare Okewulonu as winner after the election quickly sold the electoral umpire out as being under heavy influence of superior power.

The PDP argued that “had the INEC done the needful at the time of the election by declaring Okewulonu the winner, we would not have come to the current sorry pass where conflicting judicial orders are being churned out every second

“We, therefore, reject this recent judgment and call on the INEC to handover the Certificate of Returns to Mr. Emmanuel Okewulonu, who is the authentic winner of the December 5, 2020, Imo North senatorial bye-election, sequel to the ruling of the Supreme Court.”