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Court Bars Ekwunife From Anambra Central Senatorial Re-run

Senator Uche Ekwunife, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate in the March 28, Anambra Central senatorial election may not be qualified to participate in the re-run election ordered by the Enugu Appeal panel which nullified her election.

From the full text of the certified true copy of the Appeal Court obtained in Enugu, yesterday, the appellate court held that the 11th respondent (Ekwunife) “was not the product of a valid primary and was therefore, not duly and legitimately nominated.

“That has disqualified her from contesting the election into the Anambra Central district.”

The court cited Supreme Court ruling on Wambai Vs Donatus (2014) that “a person cannot be qualified to be a candidate of a party except and unless he is nominated and sponsored by a political party.”

The court held that neither Ekwunife nor the PDP led evidence to prove that there was a primary and those who participated in such a primary where Ekwunife was elected.

Chairman of the appeal panel Justice A.D. Yahaya, who read the judgment said: “After an election, if a person wishes to challenge the result of the election on ground of nomination/pre- election matter, he can legally do so before a tribunal under Section 138 (1) (a) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended and it is wrong to hold that an election tribunal does not have jurisdiction to hear and determine such a matter.”

“Nomination is part and parcel of qualification to stand for an election and since an election can be challenged on the grounds of lack of qualification, it follows that the appropriate forum to challenge it after the election is held is the Election Tribunal.”
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