The Supreme Court has overturned the earlier judgments disqualifying Chukwuma Francis Ibezim as candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the December 5, 2020 by-election.
A five-member panel of justices presided by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, held that the earlier concurrent judgments of the high court hinged on false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission by Ibezim were perverse and not in line with the evidence presented.
In the lead judgment, Justice Emmanuel Agim noted that the burden of proof of forgery against Ibezim was not discharged by subpoena of INEC, adding that the matter ought to have been commenced at the high court by writ of summons.
The apex court also observed that the originating summons was filed outside 14 days under the provisions of Section 285 of the constitution.
Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja had on December 4, 2020, disqualified Ibezim as candidate of the APC for the December 5, 2020 by-election in Imo North Senatorial District.
A similar judgement was delivered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the same court on March 18, directing INEC to issue Ararume with the certificate of return.
Both judgments were affirmed by the Court of Appeal.
The APC won the by-election following the death of Senator Ben Uwajumogu without a candidate as Ibezim, Ararume and Chidimma Uwajumogu challenged the party’s primary.
APC polled 36, 811 votes against 31, 903 votes by the PDP candidate, Emmanuel Okewulonu, in the six local governments of Obowo, Okigwe, Onuimo, Isiala Mbano, Ehime Mbano, and Ihitte Uboma.