Appeal Court reserves judgement in APC’s primary election for Abia Central Senatorial seat

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The Owerri Division of the Court of Appeal has reserved judgment in a contestation suit challenging the emergence of Emeka Atuma as the All Progressives Congress’s (APC) candidate for the Abia Central Senatorial seat.

Justice Rita Pemu reserved judgement on the matter on a date to be communicated after hearing the parties’ arguments to the suit on Wednesday.

Samuel Onuigbo, who contested the primary election, filed the appeal challenging an October 4 judgement of the Federal High Court, Umuahia, which upheld Mr Atuma’s election.

Emeka Obegolu (SAN), counsel to Mr Onuigbo, told the appellate court that his client won the APC’s primary election for the senatorial district held between May 28 and May 29.

He argued that INEC issued a report quoting the official date of the primary election.

Mr Obegolu also urged the court to hold that the service of notice of appeal by the appellant constituted proper personal service to the APC.

While raising a preliminary objection that respondents filed out of time, Mr Obegolu urged the court to set aside the lower court’s judgement.

In his counter-submission, counsel to APC, Vigilus Nwankwo, said the party conducted an indirect primary election fixed for May 28 but later rescheduled for June 7.

“APC filed process affidavit before the lower court showing that it did not conduct direct primary election in respect of the constituency, but rather conducted indirect primary election on June 7,’’ he said.

He told the court that Mr Atuma emerged as the candidate for the Abia Central Senatorial seat in the rescheduled primary election.

Mr Nwankwo submitted that the appellant did not provide evidence to prove proper service as of the date of service.

He urged the court to dismiss the appeal and accept the lower court’s judgement, which he said was flawless, spotless and immaculate.

In her submission, counsel to INEC, Bertha Amadi, said it would not oppose the appeal.

Also, counsel to Mr Atuma, Isaac Anya, while adopting his brief of argument, urged the court to dismiss the appeal.

Mr Anya said the argument of who won the primary election was not a new issue at the Federal High Court, Umuahia, contrary to the submission by Mr Obegolu.

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