The Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, has said that the Federal High Court only nullified his election as the Ebonyi South Senatorial District and never disqualified him.
While speaking on Monday on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, the former All Progressives Congress (APC)’s presidential aspirant said the reports of his disqualification were untrue.
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Umahi said he went to court because his name was not published by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the APC candidate for the senatorial district.
There were reports on Friday that the court recognised Princess Ann Agom-Eze as the senatorial candidate of the APC for Ebonyi South.
This came after Mr Austin Umahi, the younger brother of the state governor, withdrew from the race after winning the ticket during the party’s primary to pave the way for the governor.
Umahi had, through his counsel, who doubles as his elder brother, Roy Nweze Umahi, dragged INEC to the Federal High Court in Abakaliki to compel the commission to recognise him as the authentic senatorial candidate for Ebonyi South Senatorial District.
Daily Trust gathered that the second runner-up, Princess Agom-Eze, had reportedly withdrawn from the race.
But Agom-Eze, on Tuesday, approached the court and urged it not to recognise Governor Umahi as the senatorial candidate. She also, through her lawyer, denied having taken an affidavit for withdrawal.
Delivering his judgement on Friday, Justice Fatun Riman, cited Section 115 of the Electoral Act, 2022, saying the governor was not an aspirant and could not participate in the election or pre-election matters of the APC as regards the Ebonyi South, whose primary held on May 28, 2022.
But while speaking on Monday, Umahi said, “The INEC lawyers said that the court ordered for a fresh election and that I was never disqualified.
“I think what happened in the court by the judge cancelling the election of 9th of June may not be the fault of the judge. The judge made use of the evidence before him.
“Our lawyer went to court because INEC did not publish my name as submitted by the party, APC, for the court to compel INEC to do that.
“Along the line, even the PDP from my senatorial zone, who is a senator now, joined the suit. Also, the person that came second in the first senatorial primary also joined the suit.”
He said the suits were status bared and his lawyer was rather busy trying to file a counter claim, adding that “I think that is where the mistake came from.”
He said “someone” won in the first primary who then withdrew his candidacy, giving room for a fresh election which he contested in and won.
Umahi argued that he did not purchase two forms during the same election period, saying that he only got the senatorial form on 9th June after losing out at the presidential primary.
When asked if he would participate in the fresh election as purportedly directed by the court or approach the Court of Appeal to claim his ticket, the Ebonyi State Governor declined to comment.
“The learned judge has scheduled an election. Only the appeal court can stop it. It is up to me to decide whether I’m participating or the person who won the election before is going to also come up or any of the members of my constituency will participate.
“So, I’m not going to be telling you whether I am going to the Appeal Court or not,” he said.