Appeal Court Nullifies Sen Ucha’s Election … Declares Onwe Winner


The Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu, Friday, nullified the election of Senator Julius Ucha, of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), representing Ebonyi Central Senatorial zone of Ebonyi State at the upper chambers of the National Assembly.

Coming less than two months after the same court nullified the election of another PDP member, senator Joy Emodi, representing Anambra Central senatorial zone  at the National assembly, the Appellate court directed that the appellant in the matter, another member of PDP in Ebonyi state , Chief Emmanuel Onwe, be sworn-in immediately by the National Assembly (NASS).

The court also held that the judgement earlier delivered by Justice Chioma Nwosu – Iheme of the Ebonyi State Election Tribunal, upholding the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) declaration of Ucha as winner in the April 21, 2007 National Assembly election was “ totally undemocratic, null and void and of no effect.”

In his judgement, the lead Judge, Justice Lokulo Sodipe, declared that Ucha was a “medien inter lopez” to an election he did not vie for.

Justice Sodipe, continued that the substitution of the candidature of Onwe for Ucha by the PDP was a nullity since the party did not comply with the stipulated electoral law.

According to the judge, “There can only be a substitution of a candidate by the party upon submission to INEC for legal ratification.

“The law deems the appellant (Onwe) to have stood for the election on the platform of the PDP because he was the duly nominated candidate in the party.

Ucha hestated, was not a candidate in that election because he did not contest in the primaries for the election, and there is no law that provides for independent candidate”, he ruled.

The court therefore , declared Onwe the rightful candidate and winner of the election and ordered INEC to issue him a Certificate of Return without delay.

It would be recalled that before this development, Senator Ucha, who was a former Speaker, Ebonyi State House of Assembly, was the Chairman Senate Committee on Works.

In a similar judgement, the Appeal Court also upturned the election of Mr. Ikenna Amaechi of the Anambra State House of Assembly and asked that Egwuoyibo Okoye be sworn-in as the member representing Nnewi South II Constituency in the State Assembly.

Just like Onwe, Okoye was illegally substituted by the ruling PDP in the April 28, 2007 House of Assembly election in Anambra State .

The election Petition Tribunal in the state had earlier ruled in favour of Amaechi, who had been occupying the seat until the sudden development, Friday, which gave rise to an atmosphere of sadness and joy within and outside the court premises.