A member of the House of Representatives, Chris Azubogu, has been sacked as the Senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for Anambra South Senatorial District in the 2023 general elections.
One of the contenders, Ben Nwankwo, had in June 2022 approached the Federal High Court to sack Hon Chris Azubogu as the candidate of APGA for Anambra South Senatorial Zone.
Nwankwo asked the court to nullify the nomination of Azubogu as the candidate of APGA for 2023 Anambra South senatorial election alleging that he was still a member of PDP and could not hold APGA ticket when he is yet to defect officially.
Accordingly, Azubogu had allegedly not officially announced his defection from PDP to APGA at the floor of the National Assembly.
Meanwhile, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Thursday removed Azubogu from the senatorial race on grounds of his membership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) when in June this year he stood for the primary election under APGA for Anambra South Senatorial District.
Delivering judgment in the suit instituted by Nwankwo, challenging the nomination of Azubogu, Justice Inyang Ekwo, held that the lawmaker violated Section 65 and 68 of the 1999 Constitution in the unlawful ways and manners he stood for the primary election under APGA platform and got nominated for the February next year senatorial election for Anambra South.
Justice Ekwo agreed with the plaintiff that 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 primary election for 2022, there was no way the federal lawmaker could lawfully participate in any primary election other than that of the PDP.
The court held that as at June 1, 2022 when APGA conducted its primary election for the nomination of candidate for Anambra South Senatorial District, Azubogu was not qualified to participate.
The court added that any action taken in contravention or breach of the 1999 Constitution was 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.
The court consequently nullified his purported nomination and submission of his name to INEC as candidate of APGA for the 2023 senatorial election.
In his place, Justice Ekwo ordered that the plaintiff, Ben Nwankwo’s name be submitted to the electoral body as candidate of APGA for the election.
The court issued restraining order prohibiting the House of Representatives member from parading himself as APGA candidate in the 2023 election and INEC from according him recognition as APGA’s candidate.