Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
There is no end in sight yet to the controversy trailing the governorship primaries of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Abia State, as one of the aspirants, Chief Daniel Eke, has asked a Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia, to stop both Chief Ikechi Emenike, and Dr Uche Ogah from parading themselves as governorship candidates of the party.
Eke, in the suit marked FHC/UM/ 18/96/2022, urged the court to declare the outcomes of both primaries as “unlawful and invalid.”
The duo emerged from parallel primaries, and have both laid claims to the ticket.
While Emenike emerged through indirect primaries, Ogah’s faction adopted the direct mode, but Eke said that both exercises were shrouded in secrecy.
Ikengaonline reports that the legal firework is coming barely 48 hours after some gladiators in both factions of the party declared a ceasefire and pledged to unite under one leadership.
They recognised Emenike as the party’s authentic governorship candidate but Ogah has kicked against the move, insisting that he remains the authentic flag bearer having emerged from direct primaries.
Eke, urged the court to declare that both Emenike and Ogah “emerged from an invalid, unlawful and illegal factional primary elections conducted contrary to the Constitution of APC and Electoral Act 2022.”
He said that the APC’s National Working Committee, NWC, directed Abia to conduct direct governorship primaries but regretted that the directive was not diligently observed.
Eke argued that while Ogah’s “factional purported direct primary election” was not conducted by the APC Electoral Committee Officers, led by Messrs Tonie Obiefuna and Chukwudi Kanu as Chairman and Secretary, respectively; Emenike conducted indirect primary, in total disregard to the party’s NWC’s directives, guidelines and party’s constitution.
Eke sought the court’s injunction restraining the two defendants “from parading themselves as duly nominated governorship candidates of APC.”
He also sought an order restraining the duo from contesting the APC governorship poll in the 2023 general elections.
He equally asked for an order to restrain INEC “from accepting or recognising and presenting the two defendants as the APC governorship candidates for the general elections in Abia.”
Eke stated that the greatest infraction in the conduct of the APC governorship primary elections in Abia was that “there were no correspondences to the aspirants and supporters, regarding the venue and time for the exercise.”
According to him, there was no election from which the so-called delegates emerged, in the case of indirect primary election.
He urged the court not to allow the purported primary elections by Emenike and Ogah to stand but declare it a nullity.
Eke alleged that he was unfairly and unjustly treated by the party’s NWC.
He asked the court to award N100 million damages in his favour and against Emenike and Ogah “for inducing and masterminding the infractions invalidating the APC gubernatorial primary election in Abia.”
Later in an interview with newsmen, Eke said that Abia APC risked not presenting a gubernatorial candidate in 2023.
He expressed disappointment over the process through which both claimants of the ticket emerged.