More trouble for PDP, APGA over Anambra Guber

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The legal cloud covering the governorship candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in the coming election in Anambra state has refused to clear as legal actions keep pilling against them in the law courts.

The latest is the suit challenging the validity of the nomination of the Robert Nchekwube Umeozulu, as running mate to Valentine Ozigbo over his voluntary renunciation of his Nigerian citizenship.

Also facing a fresh legal hurdle is the candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, Charles Soludo, over false claims he made in his INEC nomination form EC-9 to the effect that he is contesting to govern Aguata II constituency, said to be non-existent.

According to courts documents , Umeozulu’s name was unlawfully submitted to INEC by PDP as its deputy governorship candidate and running mate to Ozigbo in the November 6 governorship elections in Anambra state despite having voluntarily renounced his Nigerian citizenship and taken up citizenship of the United States of America (USA), and also, swearing under oath, to bear true allegiance and complete loyalty to the USA.

In his oath of allegiance, Umeozulu swore never to take interest in the affairs of any other country except that of the United States of America.

Umeozulu also indicated in his INEC form EC-9, that he had voluntarily renounced his Nigerian citizenship and take up that of the USA. He also indicated in his INEC nomination form that he had long sworn an oath of total allegiance to the USA against Nigeria.

He answered “yes” to the questions: “Have you voluntarily acquired citizenship of any other country”, and “Have you made a declaration of allegiance to that country or any other country”. He indicated he allegiance to the USA.

According to the suit, Umeozulu’s action is against the combined interpretation of Section 6(6), 182 (1) (a) and 187(1) (2) of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria as amended.

Section 182(1) of the Nigerian constitution states that “no person shall be qualified for election into the office of the governor of a state if: (a) subject to the provisions of section 28 of this constitution he has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a country other than Nigeria”.

Umeozulu is also faced with the allegation of certificate forgery as the name on the WAEC document he lodged before INEC bears a name different from that on his Form EC-9.

According to the suit, Umeozulu filed a WAEC document issued in 1978 with number 04425117 bearing Aghekwube. He also stated on oath before INEC that his actual name is Robert Nchekwube Umeozulu. There is however no valid evidence of legal change of name before INEC to prove that Aghekwube is the same person as Nchekwube.

For the above, the plaintiffs are asking the court for a declaration, among other declarations, “that upon the construction and interpretation of the constitutional provisions of sections 6(6), 182(1)(a), 186 and 187(1)(2) of the 1999 constitution (as amended), the third defendant (Robert Nchekwube Umeozulu), who the first defendant (INEC) on the 6th of July, 2021 received his 2021 INEC Form EC-9 as the deputy governorship candidate of the second defendant (PDP) and who swore on oath in Part B Paragraph 11 of his 2021 INEC Form EC-9 that he has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of the USA is not qualified for election to the office of Deputy governor in the forthcoming Anambra state governorship election slated to hold sometime in November 2021 or any other date thereabout”.

They also ask the court for a declaration that “by the express provisions and interpretation of the constitutional provisions of sections 6(6), 182(1)(a), 186 and 187(1)(2) of the 1999 constitution (as amended), the third defendant (Robert Nchekwube Umeozulu), who the first defendant (INEC) on the 6th of July, 2021 received his 2021 INEC Form EC-9 as the deputy governorship candidate of the second defendant (PDP) and who swore on oath in Part B Paragraph 12 of his 2021 INEC Form EC-9 that he has made a declaration of allegiance on oath to the USA, other than Nigeria, is not qualified for election to the office of Deputy governor in the forthcoming Anambra state governorship election slated to hold sometime in November 2021 or any other date thereabout”.

Further, the plaintiffs ask for judicial declaration to the effect “that upon the construction and interpretation of the constitutional provisions of sections 6(6), 186 and 187(1)(2) of the 1999 constitution (as amended), and sections 31(5) and (6) of the 2010 Electoral Act (as amended) and decided judicial authorities the third defendant (Robert Nchekwube Umeozulu), who swore on oath vide his 2021 INEC Form EC-9 that his name is Umeozulu Robert Aghekwube other than the one in his said name i.e., Umeozulu Robert Nchekwube, having not stated in Part B Paragraph 3 of his 2021 INEC Form EC-9 of having former names, has presented false information to PDP in support of his nomination”.

Meanwhile, APGA factional candidate, Prof. Charles Soludo, will have to contend with false information he entered in his nomination form which is now cause for litigation before a federal high court in Abuja.
According to the suit, brought by Adindu Onyebuchi Valentine and Egwudike Hycenth Chukwuebuka, Soludo and his running mate should be disqualified from contesting the November 6 governorship election in Anambra state for claiming to represent a non-existent constituency in his INEC EC-9 Form.

The suit was brought against INEC, APGA, Soludo and his running mate, Onyeka Ibezim. It accused Soludo of misleading INEC and APGA with false information on his nomination form.

It seeks a declaration, among others, that “by the provisions of Sections 6(6), 36, 176(1), 178(4), 186, 187(1)(2) of the 1999 constitution (as amended) and the first schedule (Part 1) of the 199 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria (as amended), section 31(1)(2)(5) and (6) of the 2010 Electoral Act (as amended) together with the third defendants (Soludo) declaration on oath in his 2021 INEC Form EC-9 and dated July 1, 2021, the third defendant (Soludo) who seeks to contest election into Aguata II –Anambra, being bound by his declaration cannot validly be nominated as the governorship candidate of the second defendant (APGA) for the Anambra State governorship election slated to hold on 6 November, 2021 or any other nearby date”.

READ ALSO: November 6 Gubernatorial Election in Anambra State

The plaintiffs also seek a declaration to the effect that “by the combined provisions of Sections 6(6), 36, 176(1), 178(4), 186, 187(1)(2) of the 1999 constitution (as amended) and the first schedule (Part 1) of the 199 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria (as amended), section 31(1)(2)(5) and (6) of the 2010 Electoral Act (as amended) together with the fourth defendants (Ibezim) declaration on oath in his 2021 INEC Form EC-9 and dated July 2, 2021, the fourth defendant (Ibezim) who seeks to contest election into Awka II –Anambra state, being bound by his declaration cannot validly be nominated as the deputy governorship candidate of the second defendant (APGA) for the Anambra State governorship election slated to hold on 6 November, 2021 or any other nearby date”.

In both cases, the plaintiffs supplied judicial pronouncements from the Supreme Court to support their arguments that both the PDP and APGA candidates ought to be disqualified from contesting the Anambra governorship election for false information on their INEC Forms EC-9, and for voluntarily renouncing Nigerian citizenship and pledging allegiance, on oath, to the USA.

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