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Evang. Abraham N. Osondu (snr) writes from Umuahia: The Appeal Court judgment for Rep. Sam I. Onuigbo of Wednesday 30th November 2022

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An opinion piece

“Overcame by emotions, I became camera-shy, murmured words, spoke incorrect grammar, but joyous that justice has been done.”

As the judgement was delivered, Barrister V.C. Nwankwo (APC Legal Adviser, Abia State) was silenced; Barrister Isaac Anya (for Honourable Emeka Atuma) was humbled, and the court room stood still. I looked around for the “social media die-hard” puppet journalists of Honourable Emeka Atuma, and found none of them in the room. It was, indeed, a strange scenery.

Contrary to the unguarded comments made by the half-baked social media activists of Hon. Emeka Atuma that a new case was presented at the Court of Appeal, the following pieces of evidence are push-back to such:

➢ The Appeal court was asked to review the judgment of the lower court, and to declare it incompetent

➢ They were asked to strike out APC in their counter affidavit to the statement of preliminary objection raised by the Counsel for Rep. Sam. I. Onuigbo (Chief Emeka Obegolu, SAN) for filing their response outside the required time.

➢ The court was asked to examine the claim by APC/Atuma that the primary which Onuigbo claimed to have emerged a winner was declared inconclusive. Consequently, a re-run and or another primary was scheduled to conclude it on the 7th June 2022.

➢ They were also asked to look into the signing of Rep. Onuigbo’s Result sheet by an Admin. Secretary of the National Working Committee (David Saswun), and INEC’s dating of the report.

➢ Critically, the court was asked to examine the application of the Electoral Act 2022 (especially Section 84) for any violations

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➢ The court was asked to make a declaratory statement as to who won the APC Primary Election of the 28th May for the Abia Central Senatorial seat for the 2023 General Elections.

➢ Two other issues were also requested (as the CTC will eventually show)

1. The First, and perhaps the biggest causality, was the APC Party. The three judges  agreed with the Counsel for Rep. Onuigbo that APC filed its response outside the five days time limit permitted by the law, and should take no further part in the case.

2. The judgment of the lower court was copiously examined, and found to fall short of facts of the law, and declared incompetent.

3. The judges surprisingly gave an English lesson to the APC Party regarding the so called “Inconciveness” of the Primaries of 28th May 2022. They asked: how can a Party use the words “Concluding a Primary and re-run in the same case? Concluding anything means finishing what was started with the same applicants to reach its logical conclusion. A Re-run is a fresh process. It is not possible for a concluding event to suddenly become a “re-run event”. They are two separate meanings! APC failed to produce any iota of evidence that INEC was notified of either concluding event or re-run event, of the 7th June, and INEC’s report about it. They did not show any evidence of communication with the participants of the 28th May regarding the conclusion or re-run. In any case, it is not possible for a direct Primary mode to transit into an indirect Primary mode.

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A scathing reprehension was noted when the Judges found in the documents filed by APC that after the Primaries of the 28th May , The APC Party listed Hon. Sam. I. Onuigbo and Senator Orji Uzo Kalu (among others) as the duly winners of their respective Primaries. You can draw your own conclusion as to who has been lying all this while.

4. APC had also argued that Chief Izuchukwu (Chairman of the Committee sent to Abia State for the Primaries) should have signed Rep. Sam Onuigbo’s Result sheet. The court ruled that the signature of the Administrative Secretary (a higher officer than Chief Izuchukwu) was sufficient.

5. In their review of the application of the Electoral Act 2022, the Judges concluded that: had the new law been applied in this case, the lower court should have reached a different judgement.

6. Consequently, the Judges granted all the prayers of Rep. Sam I. Onuigbo and declared him the winner of 28th May 2022 Abia Central Senatorial Candidate of the APC for the 2023 General Elections.

                 EPILOGUE:

The Judgement of the 30th November 2022 at the Appeal Court Owerri is a Victory for the Electoral Act 2022 (especially section 84). The issue of Party Supremacy has been dealt a heavy blow – the final nail has been driven into its coffin.

There are many Party Big Wiggs, and ‘die-hard’ Party Followers that have chosen to cling unto the pre-2019 Electoral Laws that have become obsolete (including legislators that presided over the passing of the 2022 Act). Such a behavior amplifies, once again, our flagging democracy.

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Rep. Sam I. Onuigbo has travelled a long and very rough road, and crossed many rivers to get to this point today. This journey, unfortunately, has pelted fabricated lies designed to thwart the rule of law. It has also (along with other similar cases) truncated the Abia State APC Party.

It is human to forgive and forget. Consequently, Rep. Sam I. Onuigbo is extending a hand of friendship and co-operation to all APC Party members today. Let us build bridges and mend our cracks to focus on removing the PDP cancer that has bedeviled Abia State for nearly three decades.

Wishing us well.

Evangelist Abraham N. Osondu (snr)

1st December 2022