2019: Lawmaker sues INEC, parties over disqualification
By Sunday Agbo, Abakaliki
The federal lawmaker representing Afikpo North/South federal constituency in the house of representatives, Hon. Idu Igariwey has approached the federal high court sitting in Abakaliki, challenging the certificates of the candidates of the All Progressive Congress(APC) and the Alliance for New Nigeria(ANN), Anthony Eko and Maria Ude Nwachi.
In the suit numbers FHC/ABJ/CS/1604/2018 Hon. Igariwey Iduma Ewo Vs Maria Udeh Nwach,Alliance for New Nigeria(ANN), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and FHC/ABJ/1605/2018 between Hon. Igariwey Iduma Ewo vs Anthony Ogbonna Eko , All Progressive Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC),the plaintiff is praying the court to give an order disqualifying the candidates that the information they supplied in their affidavits to contest the 2019 election was false.
According to him, the two suits were basically seeking the same relives. “I am challenging the qualification of two of the candidates who are contesting the house of representatives from Afikpo North/South federal constituency. As a matter of fact, there are about nine candidates contesting for that position.
“Some young people came together and profiled all the candidates based on publication made by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). You recall that part of the electoral process is that INEC will publish the list of candidates and their qualifications so that people can peruse through the notice to actually know who is going to represent them.
“So, this group of young people from the constituency actually did that and it was published on social media and that was what drew my attention to the fact that it does appear that these candidates do not have the requisite qualification as required under chapter 5 of our constitution to stand for the office they seek.
“So we are here in court to challenge the qualification of Anthony Ogbonnaya Eko of the All Progressive Congress(APC) and we are also challenging the qualification of one Maria Udeh Nwachi of the Alliance of New Nigeria(ANN). The matter has come up for mention today at the federal high court. Actually, the matter was filed at the federal high court Abuja, but was transferred to Abakaliki here.
“These two suits are basically seeking the same relives. We are challenging the qualification of these candidates and asking the court to declare that the information supplied through the affidavit to contest the 2019 general elections is false. We have asking the court because of the false information to declare them non qualified to contest the 2019 general election. So their parties do not have qualified candidates to contest the election.
“So I am also asking the court to make an order disqualifying these individuals from contesting the forthcoming election of 16 February 2018. Finally, we are asking the court to make an order nullifying the candidature of these individuals who are seeking to contest the election. We are also asking the court to make an order barring their parties from substituting them with any other candidate.
“Anthony Ogbnnaya Eko claimed to be a pharmacist. He claimed to have graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka(UNN). But information available including documentary information show that he actually did not graduate from the University of Nigeria, Nsuka(UNN). People laboured by way of due diligence went to UNN and as at the time he claimed to have graduated, there is no evidence that he graduated from the University.
“He claimed when we was running for chairman of Afikpo North that he graduated 2002 the document he submitted. And that was a purported letter from the Dean of the faculty pharmaceutical sciences. Now to run this election, he has gone to procure what looks like a document from Nsuka now saying 2004 as year of graduation.
“Concerning Maria Udeh Nwachi, when she run election in 2015, from the information available to me what she used to run that election was a trade test which was issued by the ministry of labour in Enugu, which was her highest qualification.
“As an indegene of Afikpo, I know she dropped out of class two from Ibiam Girls Secondary School . That much is well known and it is not in doubt before she went overseas. Whatever she did in overseas is not the issue of this interview.
“She went overseas, came back and ran election in 2015 with a Trade test with some other results from school in Afikpo. But now she said she wants to run for the house of representatives and she exhibited a degree from America university, the University of New York. The simple question is that if you have a degree to exhibit purportedly dated 2006, how come you run election without exhibiting the result. Secondly, It is a global world information is very easy to get. People went back to the University and they denied ever issuing that certificate”, he stated.