2023: Supreme Court Affirms Onuigbo as APC’s Senatorial Candidate
Supreme Court on Friday affirmed Rep Sam Onuigbo as APC’s Senatorial Candidate for Abia Central Senatorial district in the matter, SC/CV/1626/2022, being man appeal filed by Hon Emeka Atuma challenging the judgement of the Court of Appeal, Owerri Division, which on Nov. 30, 2022 declared Onuigbo as the party ‘s candidate having emerged as the duly elected candidate from the Senatorial primary organised by the APC on May 28/29, 2022.
The Appeal Court, setting aside the judgement of the lower court, averred that the trial judge erred, and upheld Onuigbo’s appeal, leading to Atuma’s appeal to the Supreme Court
The tortuous road to Onuigbo’s victory had taken over seven months with both parties appearing in over seven courts.
The INEC had since Dec. 22, 2023 listed Onuigbo as the APC Abia Central Senatorial district candidate
The apex court in a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim dismissed the appeal filed by Atuma challenging the decision of the Court of Appeal for lacking in merit.
Shortly after Onuigbo was returned winner of the primary, Atuma started laying claims to the Senatorial ticket. He argued that a repeat straw poll was held on June 7, 2022, even as he alleged that the national headquarters of the party canceled the original senatorial primary.
He, therefore, approached the party to submit his name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the Senatorial nominee.
However based on purported moves by some leaders of APC to substitute his name, Onuigbo had approached the Federal High Court, claiming, among other reliefs, that by virtue of Sections 29(1) and 84 of the Electoral Act 2022, Atuma did not participate in the processes leading to the conduct of the Abia Central Senatorial primary.
Onuigbo further contended that he defeated Henry Ikoh, who has been appointed a Minister of State, by 157 to 152 votes in the May 28/29 primary adding that the APC headquarters officially received result of the primary, which was signed by the Chairman and Secretary of the National Assembly Primary Election Committee.
Justice Agim in delivering the judgment held that respective parties shall bear their cost in the matter.