Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, the member representing Ideato North/South Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, has said that the judgement of the Imo National and State House of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal purportedly ordering supplementary elections contradicted the positions of the law.
Ugochinyere, who is the chairman of the House Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), in his reaction to the judgement, said despite the obvious positions of law, the tribunal did what it did.
He was referring to Section 285(14)(c) of the Nigerian Constitution which only allows a political party to challenge the decisions and activities of INEC disqualifying its own candidate from participating in an election, or to complain that the provisions of the Electoral Act or any other law have not been complied with in respect of the nomination of the party’s own candidates, time table for an election, registration of voters and other activities of INEC in respect of preparation for an election.
A political party is only vested with locus to file a pre-election matter when the aforesaid situations affect it or its own candidates. When the actions of INEC relate to the activities of a political party, no court has the jurisdiction to entertain a suit brought by another political party in that regard.
Also, in its judgment in SC/CV/501/2023, the Supreme Court held that “A political party that files a suit to challenge the nomination of the candidate of another party will be a nosy busybody, a meddlesome interloper, peeping into the affairs of his neighbour without any backing in law. No court of law can entertain such a Suit” yet the tribunal went ahead and disqualified Ikenga on the challenge by the APC candidate, Abazu Chika Benson.
Fingering Governor Hope Udzodimma for his handiwork in the matter, the PDP lawmaker said: “Hope Uzodimma thinks he can take champagne on what transpired in the Tribunal today. He should know that this will not change who we are. We will hold him to account.
“Hope Uzodimma should know that we will never bow, Imo will win and Ideato will win. Let me state it clearly to Hope Uzodimma, the outcome of whatever happens in this House of Representatives election will not define who Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere is. It has never been a do or die fight, but be rest assured that I will give it my best shot and my best shot has always been on the side of the people, sanctioned by God.”
Not deterred by the turn of events an undercurrents, Ugochinyere said: “We are coming to Imo for campaigns. When we come down, ndi Imo (Imo people) will see that nothing has happened in the past four years except using the common patrimony of the people to massage the over bloated ego of an underserving emperor who will soon be voted out by the people.
“Abazu won only one polling unit out of 346 polling units in the Ideato Federal Constituency and that is the person you want to make Reps member. Heroes do not tread on smooth ground, they meet their setback but they triumph by clinching the ultimate victory. In all these jokes from Uzodimma, we have remained the victors backed by the immeasurable love of God and support of our people. Tomorrow will tell.”
The Tribunal ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to, within 90 days, conduct a supplementary election in the constituency.