A Federal High Court in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State presided by Justice Fatun Riman has disqualified the current governor of the state, David Umahi, from participating in the state’s 2023 senatorial election.
Driving the news
The court’s ruling further declared Princess Ann Agom-Eze as the winner of the Ebonyi South senatorial primaries and flag bearer of the All-Progressive Congress (APC) in the forthcoming senatorial elections. Justice Fatun Riman gave the verdict on the premise that according to Electoral Act 2022, Gov David Umahi has no claim to the senatorial bid seeing that the governor neither purchased the forms for the senatorial district nor participated in the election.
Background to the story
- APC held its first primary senatorial election for Ebonyi South on May 28th 2022; an election in which the current governor’s younger brother, Nweze Umahi, clinched first position.
- APC then held a second senatorial primaries for Ebonyi South senatorial district after David Umahi contested and lost the party’s presidential primaries.
- The party’s rerun and second senatorial primaries held at Afikpo North Local Government Council recorded aspirants, including the governor’s young brother stepping down for David Umahi, who clinched the party’s ticket.
- Following INEC’s refusal to declare David Umahi as the senatorial candidate for the APC, the governor then dragged INEC to court to force the commission to declare him as the party’s flag bearer for Ebonyi South senatorial district in the 2023 elections.
Why it matters
Nigerian Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and party compatriot Godswill Akpabio, are in similar situations with David Umahi. But while Ahmad Lawan contested in the APC’s presidential election and earned fourth place, Godswill Akpabio gave up his ambition to support eventual winner, Bola Tinubu.
As a fall-back plan, both lawmakers have laid claim to senatorial bids in their respective states, Yobe and Akwa Ibom. According to Section 115 (D) of the electoral act 2022, obtaining multiple nomination forms attracts a punishment of a two years’ sentence.