Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja, Tuesday, sacked two members of the House of Representatives from Enugu State.
The sacked legislators, elected to the House on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, are Stella Ngwu representing Igbo-Etti/Uzo-Uwani Federal Constituency and Mr. Dennis Agbo representing Igbo Eze North/Udenu Federal Constituency.
Justice Abang in the separate judgments ordered Gabriel Okafor to replace Ngwu as the representative of Igbo-Etti/Uzo-Uwani Federal Constituency and Mr. Chijoke Ugwu to replace Agbo and take over the seat of Igbo Eze North/Udenu Federal Constituency.
Okafor and Ugwu are the plaintiffs in the two separate suits, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1088/14 and FHC/ABJ/CS/1104, challenging the nomination of the sacked legislators as the candidates of the party.
Justice Abang ruled that the emergence of Ngwu and Agbo violated provisions of sections 85 – 89 of the Electoral Act, 2010 and Electoral Guidelines for Primary Elections.
The judge ruled that the sacked legislators were wrongly nominated by the PDP as they did not emerge as the winners of the primaries conducted by the PDP for the purpose of the last year’s House of Representatives elections in their constituencies.
He held that the plaintiffs were able to prove their cases by showing that the authentic primaries held on December 6, 2014 with proof of the results declared at the end of the exercise, the panel’s report on the primaries and the lists of delegates used.
He held that it was unconstitutional, illegal and unlawful for the PDP and its National Working Committee to have conducted the primaries from which the sacked legislators emerged using the lists of delegates other than the ones produced from the ward congresses held on November 1, 2014.
It directed the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to immediately issue Certificate of Return to both Okafor and Ugwu, even as it awarded N100, 000 cost against the defendants in favour of the plaintiff. While INEC was the 3rd defendant in both cases, the sacked Reps members, Ngwu and Agbo, were cited as 4th defendants, respectively.
He also ordered the removed lawmakers to refund into the coffers of the National Assembly, all monies they collected by way of salaries and allowances citing the Supreme Court judgment on Gwede Vs INEC delivered in 2015.
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