Tochukwu Ifejika Awka
The Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Awka Anambra State has delivered judgement in favour of Labour Party LP Anambra State House of Assembly member representing Awka South 1 Constituency Hon Henry Mbachu for lack of locus standi.
A petition filed in by All progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) Candidate for Awka South 1 Constituency, Chief Igwedinma Nwofor praying for the disqualification of the candidacy of Hon Mbachu for lack of due process for party nomination was struck out during judgement today.
According to the petitioner, Chief Igwedinma Nwofor of (APGA) who joined INEC and Labour Party (LP) as 2nd and 3rd respondents respectively to the first respondent Hon. Henry Mbachu stated that the Candidacy of Hon Henry Mbachu should be nullified and that he the Petitioner should be declared the winner as the 1st runner-up.
The three-man panel judges; Hon. Justice L.O Ogundana (chairman), Hon. Justice Usman S. Sakwa (member 1), Hon. Justice A.T Changbo (member 2) in the judgment unanimously stated that the petitioner Igwedinma Nwofor has no jurisdiction for asking that the Candidacy of Hon Mbachu be nullified as it is 1.Solely a pre-election matter, 2. An intra-party affair.
The court therefore struck out the petitions for lack of Merit.
“This is mere academic exercise and a waste of time of the court for lack of locus standi and purely a high court matter that should be done by the LP Aspirant and not APGA,” the judgment reads.
“For lack of Merit for the 1st prayer, other prayers were dead on arrival. And it’s waste of time of the hallowed chamber,” it reiterated.
While reacting to the outcome of the judgment, a senior member of the lead counsel Barr. Nnamdi Anagor noted that the judgment at court today was clearly defined and should be upheld.
“Then judgment today was expected because of the lack of eligiblity on the the part of the Petitioners. The court held that the Petitioners were not eligible to contest the candidacy of the 1st respondent.
” One, the 1st Petitioner is not a member of the Labour party and equally not an aspirant of the primary of the party. Two, the election petition tribunal is saddled only with election matters not pre-election matters which is the jurisdiction of a federal high court.
“And consequent upon these premises, the petitioner’s 2nd prayer to declare him, who came second as winner, was struck out by the Tribunal and the judgment was hinged on Section 284 subsections 2 &14 of the constitution which is very clear on the jurisdiction of the Election Petition Tribunal,” he stated.
Hon Henry Mbachu while speaking to our Correspondent, first of all gave God the glory, thanked the electorates for the mandate given to him, and equally his lead counsel team for the victory at the Tribunal.
” I thank God for today’s victory and this reaffirms the judiciary as the last hope for the common man. I profusely thank my lead counsel team for their ingenuity at work and most especially for doing this Pro Bono.
“I call on everyone in Awka South 1 Constituency to come on board for the task ahead. I sincerely call on the Petitioner to see this victory as a win for us all. I win, he wins, he wins, I win.
“In the spirit of sportsmanship, I enjoin him to sheath his sword and board the ship for a greater Awka South 1 Constituency,” he implored.