By Oyindamola Olubajo
Hope of Dave Umahi to retire into the Senate in 2023 after completing his two-term tenure as Ebonyi governor may have been dashed as the Ebonyi Division of the Federal High Court has disqualified him as the All Progressives Congress candidate for Ebonyi South Senatorial District.
His woes might even be compounded if the authorities elects to act on the pronouncements of the court that it was illegal for a politician to run for two electoral offices in the same election cycle.
Justice Fathn Riman had on Friday ruled that Mr Umahi could not be the APC candidate because he didn’t participate in the election that produced his younger brother, Austin, as the senatorial candidate.
Though the younger brother withdrew his nomination to pave way for another primary election where Governor Umahi emerged, the court held that the second primary holds no water as the governor had already participated in the presidential primary election where he fell short.
Citing section 115 of the Electoral Act, the judge noted that a politician could not contest two electoral seats in the same year.
The court then ruled that with the governor’s younger brother’s withdrawal from the initial primary, Ann Agom-Eze, who came second in the primary election, was the authentic candidate for the senatorial seat.
Rights lawyer Abdul Mahmud said Mr Umahi, according to Section 115 of the electoral act appears to have committed a crime and should be subject to prosecution.
“If that’s the case, Umahi appears to have committed a crime under Section 115 of the Electoral Act for which he should be interviewed by the police, preparatory to a formal criminal trial after his tenure ends as a Governor,” Mr Mahmud said in a tweet on Friday.
But reacting to the court’s ruling, a media aide to the governor, Chris Oko, alleged that Ms Agom-Eze misled the judge.
In June, INEC failed to list Mr Umahi’s name among the published list of candidates contesting elective positions.
The governor then sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), seeking that the commission is compelled to recognise him as the candidate for the senatorial seat.
Source: Peoples Gazette.