Federal High Court sitting in Owerri, Imo State capital, on Monday sacked the House of Representatives member-elect for Nkwerre/Nwangele/Njaba/Isu Federal constituency of Imo State, Ugonna Ozurigbo, and asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue Certificate of Return to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Kingsley Echendu.
The main opposition party and its candidate were not, however, party to the suit.
Harrison Nwadike, a member of the ruling party, had taken his party and INEC to court over the submission of Ozurigbo’s name as its candidate.
Justice P.A. Rigime, who delivered the judgment. The court said that Nwadike, who is the plaintiff, was the “rightful winner” of the APC primary election in the federal constituency.
Nwadike, who prayed the court to declare him as the APC rightful candidate, contended that automatic tickets were unknown to the constitution.
The court in its judgment agreed with the petitioner that automatic tickets were unknown to law.
The justice who said that the candidacy of Ozurigbo was illegitimate ordered INEC to issue the PDP candidate, Echendu, who came second in the general election with a Certificate of Return as the rightful winner of the election.
The petitioner however argued that while he agreed with the court that he was the rightful winner of the APC primary election in the federal constituency, it was wrong for the court to have declared the PDP candidate the lawful winner of the general election.
He said that he would go to court to challenge the aspect of the judgment which ordered INEC to issue a Certificate of Return to the PDP candidate.