Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has reversed the substitution of the Labour Party (LP’s) senatorial candidate for Enugu West Senatorial District, Chukwuma Amadi.
While reversing the substitution, the Judge affirmed that Amadi remains the candidate of the party unless he withdraws his candidacy or occurrence of death.
Delivering judgment in a suit instituted by Amadi against the party challenging his purported substitution, Justice Ekwo removed Honourable Uchenna Ekwe, who was nominated to replace the plaintiff.
Justice Ekwo invoked sections 29, 31,32, 33, and 34 of the Electoral Act to nullify the substitution of the plaintiff.
In the judgment, the court held that by the provisions of Section 33 of the Electoral Act, 2022, political parties are not allowed to change or substitute their candidates whose names have been submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) under Section 29 of the Act, except in the case of death or withdrawal by the candidate.
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The Judge dismissed the argument of the Labour Party and Uchenna Ekwe that the plaintiff has no locus standi pursuant to Section 84 of the Electoral Act, 2022 because he was not an aspirant in the second primary election that produced Ekwe.
The Judge, therefore, declared as unlawful, illegal, unconstitutional, and of no effect whatsoever the purported substitution of the plaintiff whose name has been submitted, uploaded, and published as the valid candidate of the Labour Party for Enugu West Senatorial District.
Justice Ekwo ordered Ekwe to immediately stop parading himself as a candidate of the Labour Party in the forthcoming election and the party from dealing with him in that capacity.