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Court Nullifies Ebonyi LG Elections

… As Umahi Disagrees With Judgment

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – A Federal High Court siting in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, has nullified the local government area election recently conducted by Ebonyi State Independent Electoral Commission (EBSIEC).

Chairman of the state electoral body Mr. Jossy Eze, had declared Candidates of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) winners of all the Chairmanship and Councillorship seats in the elections conducted on 30th July, 2022.

Delivering judgment Thursday on a suit instituted by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenging the outcome of the exercise, the Court said the conduct of the exercise was Unlawful and undemocratic.

The PDP had in its suit, accused the electoral commission and the Ebonyi State Government of failing to comply with Section 150 of the Electoral Act 2022, among other infractions.

The judge, Fatun Riman, held that the conduct of the election was undemocratic and unlawful and therefore declared it void.

Our Correspondent reports that judgment came barely six days before the swearing-in of the newly elected council chairmen and councilors, which was billed to hold on the 1st of September, next week.

Speaking to Newsmen shortly after the judgment, lawyer, to the (plaintiff), the PDP, Barrister Mudi Erhenedi, hailed the court for upholding justice in the state.

He said “If you look at it, how do you access compliance without law if you hide the law with which you want to conduct the election.

According to him, “Is it not when you make the law public that we will know whether you complied with it or not, how can you be making laws and hiding them,” Mr Erhenedi added.

“My position now is that my clients demand to be availed of this law (that guided the conduct of the election).”
Erhenedi added, the plaintiff had written to relevant authorities in the state, including members of the Ebonyi House of Assembly, raising concerns about the infractions in the conduct of the exercise.

Counsel to the APC, Barrister Roy Nweze, did not respond to calls from Newsmen.

Governor David Umahi, in his reaction, disagreed with the decision of the court, while calling on their members to remain calm.

The governor who had concluded arrangements for the formal swearing in of the sacked Council Chiefs, in a statement signed and made available to newsmen in Abakaliki, by his Special Assistant on Strategy, Chooks Oko, said the court was curious to rule on the prayers that were not asked by the plaintiff.

“The attention of the Executive Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr David N. Umahi has been drawn to the curious ruling of the Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki Thursday nullifying the July 30, 2022, Local Government elections held across the state.

“It is on record that none of the grounds of the litigants included nullification of the election but the court bizarrely came up with such an order.

The election generally acknowledged as peaceful and orderly, produced our incoming leaders at the local government level having followed all laid-down procedures to the letter.

“Being law-abiding, the Governor enjoins all Ebonyians to be calm and go about their businesses peacefully while our Lawyers study the judgment to determine the best way forward.

“His belief in the judiciary as the bastion of justice and equity remains unshaken” the Statement added.

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