The Federal High Court, Abuja, has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare Ifeanyi Ararume winner of the December 5, 2020, by-election for the Imo North Senatorial District.
Delivering the judgment, yesterday, Justice Taiwo Taiwo ruled that Ararume was the authentic candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and should be declared the winner of the election.
He also ordered INEC to give a Certificate of Return to Ararume within 72 hours from the time of delivering the judgment.
Earlier, he dismissed APC and Chukwuma Francis Ibezim’s preliminary objection, challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain Ararume’s suit.
Ararume had through his counsel, Ahmed Raji (SAN), prayed the court to invoke the Federal High Court and Appeal Court judgments to disqualify Ibezim and declare him the rightful candidate of APC.
Raji said the judgments disqualified Ibezim and could not claim to be an aspirant or candidate in the Imo North Senatorial election.
In opposing Ararume’s suit, APC told the court that it never fielded Ararume for the senatorial by-election and insisted that Ararume lacked the moral ground to claim the party’s candidacy and urged the court to dismiss his suit.
Ararume had sued INEC, APC and Ibezim at the Federal High Court, praying for an order to compel INEC to recognise him as the party’s senatorial candidate in the election.
MEANWHILE, former Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has expressed satisfaction with the Federal High Court judgment, which ruled in favour of Ararume, the former governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), as APC’s authentic candidate in the Imo North Senatorial by-election.
Okorocha said the victory was a positive development, noting that with Araraume in the Senate, The lmo State APC now has two senators in the Red Chambers of the National Assembly, of the three senators from the state.
Also, Imo State chairman of APC, Daniel Nwafor, said Ararume’s “third coming to the Senate would bring dividends of democracy to the people of Okigwe zone and the entire state.”
Nwafor noted that while the litigation lasted, he was under no illusion that truth will eventually triumph over falsehood and chicanery, stressing that Ararume’s victory was a well-deserved one.
Hinting at a possible collaboration with the Senator-elect, Okorocha said having served earlier in the Senate for two terms, Ararume would bring his wealth of experience to bear for the good of the people of Imo North Senatorial District.
While commending APC faithful in the senatorial district for their hard work in ensuring that the party emerged victoriously, Okorocha applauded Nwafor and executive members for their support for Araraume.