A Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia, the Abia State capital Wednesday, 30th November, 2022, dismissed suit seeking to disqualify the emergence of Prof Greg Ibe as the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, in Abia State.
One of the governorship aspirants, Gen. Ijioma. N Ijioma, had approached the court, and urged it to cancel the May 29 APGA governorship primary that produced Professor Ibe, alleging that it was manipulated in favour of Ibe.
He also claimed that the state Chairman of APGA, Rev. Augustine Ehiemere, used his position to confer undue advantage to Prof Ibe over other contestants.
The retired General further in his statement of claims, alleged that the party allowed Ibe to storm the venue of the primary election with thugs.
Ijioma alleged that Ibe financially induced the delegates to vote for him.
He also claimed that Prof Ibe was still a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, when he emerged as APGA governorship candidate, and that he had allegedly participated in PDP’s governorship primary held on May 25.
Delivering judgement on the matter, the
presiding Judge, Justice Evelyn Anyadike, held that the plaintiff failed to prove how Prof Ibe was given undue advantage.
On the plaintiff’s claims that Ibe influenced the delegates by buying sienna cars for all the party local government chairmen, the court held that the action was not in any way different from the admittance by Ijioma, that he (Ijioma), provided coaster buses which conveyed over 200 delegates to the venue of the primary.
The court equally held that the plaintiff could not produce any admissible evidence to prove that Prof Ibe was still a member of the PDP, when he emerged APGA flag bearer.
Justice Anyadike had also held that the plaintiff had in his oath of allegiance to APGA, pledged to remain loyal to the party during and after the party primary, hence his resort to contest the outcome of the primary was a breach of his earlier oath of allegiance to the party.
The court further held that the choice of the candidate of any political party was a domestic affair of the party and not justiceable.
It, therefore, dismissed the suit for lack of merit, saying that the plaintiff failed to prove his case against the defendants.
Before delivering the judgement, the presiding Judge had told the court that he got a phone call the preceding night, threatening him not to deliver the judgement.
He warned those behind the threat to retrace their steps, vowing that no amount of intimidation will stop her from discharging her duties.
” I’m under oath to dispense justice without fear or favour, and no man born of woman will stop me from doing my job”.
Counsels from both parties had sympathised with the Judge over the sad development, and suggested that the caller’s number be volunteered to security agencies for necessary action.
Meanwhile, the plaintiff in an interview with newsmen, dismissed the judgement as a miscarriage of justice and vowed to appeal it.
“Judgement was delivered today but justice denied. We are going to expose this judgement at the court of appeal, and if need be to the supreme court”, Ijioma vowed.
Speaking with journalists, Prof Ibe, hailed the judgement, and described it as victory for the oppressed and impoverished Abians who he had come to liberate from the shackles of underdevelopment.
He thanked the judiciary for upholding his emergence, noting that he had been faced with a lot of challenges since he declared interest in the race.
“We have been faced with challenges from principalities and powers, from brothers and friends, people that we showed love when it mattered most; people of the same family.
“But on their own they decided to take us to court after a free and fair primary that was streamed live by one of the aspirants, Etigwe Uwa, SAN.
“When they went to court, out of our love and loyalty to party we visited them to solicit their cooperation to help us rescue and rebuild Abia but they refused.
“So, I defended the mandate that APGA delegates and members gave to me, and today, God has answered our prayers. We thank the judiciary for seeing and speaking truth to power, to those who want to destabilise the growth of Abia State”.
Prof Ibe said that he had been encouraged by the judgement to commence his campaigns in full force, hinting that he will unveil his campaign council on Friday.
He declared that his entry into the fray was for total emancipation of Abia State for economic recovery and human capital development.