Imo bye-election: Courts issue contradictory judgements on APC senatorial candidate in Imo North
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THE Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri, Imo State, on Friday, dismissed Senator Ifeanyi Araraume as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for the Imo North senatorial bye-election to be held on Saturday.
The decision of the court which was delivered by the presiding judge, Justice Uchechukwu Onyemenam is coming on the heels of the bye-election barely 24 hours away across 64 wards in the six local government areas of the state.
The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC is set to conduct the senatorial bye-election in the state on Saturday, to fill up the seat that became vacant after the death of Benjamin Uwajiomogu, who initially won the primary election.
Frank Ibezim was declared the authentic candidate of the APC ahead of the elections after a legal tussle with Ifeanyi Ararume, another aspirant who disputed his emergence.
On November 6, the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja in a judgement had sacked Ibezim and announced Araraume, who represented the senatorial district between 1999 and 2007 as the rightful winner of APC primary election.
Justice Onyemenam had ordered INEC to immediately enlist Ibezim’s name as the candidate of the party for the bye-election.
Also on Friday, in another simultaneous judgement delivered by the Federal High Court in Abuja, Ibezim as the candidate of the APC in the bye-election for making a false declaration in the documents he submitted to INEC.
In his ruling, Justice Inyang Ekwo, the presiding judge, said the affidavit and documents submitted by Ibezim were falsified and uncertified photocopies of the West African Examination Council, WAEC, certificate.
The judge held that the documents of the candidate bear two different and irreconcilable names – Ibezim Chukwuma Frank and Ibezim Francis Chukwuma.
Ekwo directed INEC to remove Ibezim’s name from the list of candidates for the bye-election.
However, bye-elections is expected to be conducted simultaneously by INEC in 10 other states across the country.