The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGAsenatorial )’s candidate for the Anambra South Senatorial District in the 2023 general elections, Honourable Chris Azubogu, was disqualified by a Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday. Azubogu was a member of the House of Representatives.
The federal legislator was excluded from the Senate campaign when he participated in the APGA primaries for the Anambra South Senatorial District in June of this year due to his participation in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Justice Inyang Ekwo ruled that Azubogu violated sections 65 and 68 of the 1999 Constitution by participating in the APGA primary election and receiving the nomination for the Anambra South senatorial election in February of the following year in an unlawful manner. The lawsuit was brought by Honourable Ben Nwankwo to contest the nomination of Azubogu.
Justice Ekwo agreed with the plaintiff that the 1st defendant (Azubogu) ought to have resigned, defected or cross-carpeted from PDP to APGA before he can lawfully qualify to stand for primary election on the platform of another party.
As a serving member of the House of Representatives, representing Nnewi North/ Nnewi South/ Ekwusigo Federal Constituency under the PDP ticket, Justice Ekwo held that Azubogu ought to have relinquished the seat if he had actually resigned his membership, defected from PDP to APGA or another political party.
The court held that without complying with mandatory provisions of sections 65 and 68 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 27 of the APGA guidelines for the primary election for 2022, there was no way the federal lawmaker can lawfully participate in any primary election other than that of the PDP.
The court held that as of June 1, 2022, when APGA conducted its primary election for the nomination of a candidate for Anambra South Senatorial District, Azubogu who is the 1st defendant in the suit was not qualified to participate.
The court added that any action taken in contravention or breach of the 1999 Constitution is unconstitutional, null and void, adding that Azubogu having not been a member of APGA at the time he purportedly stood for the primary election of the party cannot be lawfully nominated by APGA.
As a result, the court invalidated his alleged nomination and submission of his name to INEC as the APGA candidate for the senate election of 2023.
Justice Ekwo placed the plaintiff, Ben Nwankwo, in his place and commanded that his name be submitted to the electoral authority as the APGA candidate for the election.
The House of Representatives member is not allowed to run as the APGA candidate in the 2023 election, and INEC is not allowed to recognize him as such, according to a restraining order issued by the court.