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PDP rejects High Court judgement on Imo North senatorial bye-election

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday rejected the March 18, 2020 judgment by the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja concerning the Imo North Senatorial district bye-election.

Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, in that judgement ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue Certificate of Returns to Sen. Ifeanyi Ararume within 72 hours.

The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, stated this in a statement.

The PDP accused the All Progressive Congress of using some members of the judiciary subvert the will of the people.

According to Ologbondiyan, “This judgment further heightens our fears that the All Progressives Congress (APC)-controlled Federal Government is bent on using certain officials within our judiciary to suppress the opposition and subvert the will of the people.”

The opposition party described the judgement as bizarre considering the fact that the Supreme Court had on February 5, 2021, upheld the ruling of the Court of Appeal, which nullified the candidature of Sen. Ifeanyi Ararume as APC candidate for Imo North senatorial district bye-election.

“Our party wonders how could a matter which has been decided by the Supreme Court be overruled by a Federal High Court

“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 Sen. Ifeanyi Ararume as APC candidate for Imo North senatorial district bye-election. That verdict of the Supreme Court put to rest the candidature of Sen. Ifeanyi Ararume.

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

“Our party holds that this is a direct miscarriage of justice, which poses great danger not only to our democracy but also to our survival as a people and should not be allowed to stand.

“For the records, our candidate for the December 5, 2020, Imo North senatorial bye-election, Chief Emmanuel Okewulonu, polled the highest valid votes cast at that election since courts of competent jurisdictions disqualified the two APC candidates, Sir Frank Ibezim and Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, less than 24 hours to the election.

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

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

“Had INEC done the needful at the time of the election by declaring Chief Okewulonu the winner, we would not have come to the current sorry pass where conflicting judicial orders are being churned out every second.” The statement said.

According to Kola, “We therefore reject this recent judgement and call on INEC to handover the Certificate of Returns to Chief Emmanuel Okewulonu, who is the authentic winner of the Dec 5, 2020 Imo North senatorial bye-election, sequel to the ruling of the Supreme Court,” the statement reads.

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