Supreme Court Upholds Sen. Nwaogu's Election
SAN FRANCISCO, May 17, (THEWILL) – It was victory at last on Friday for embattled Senator Nkechi Nwaogu as the Supreme Court in Abuja upheld her election as the validly elected senator representing Abia Central Senatorial district in the National Assembly.
In his lead judgement, Justice John Afolabi Fabiyi set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal which had earlier sacked Nwaogu from the National Assembly as the apex court affirmed the decision of the High Court which had earlier dismissed the suit filed by Mr. Emeka Atuma.
The Supreme Court, which ordered Atuma to pay N100, 000 damages to Nwaogu, also held that to find otherwise as done by the Court of Appeal ran contrary to the dictate of the Supreme Court in an earlier decided case.
It would be recalled that both Nwaogu and Atuma had desired to represent the People Democratic Party (PDP) as candidate for the Abia Central Senatorial District.
At the primaries conducted on January 8, 2011, Nwaogu was returned, having scored majority votes cast while Atuma came second.
However, dissatisfied with the result, Atuma approached the High Court to challenge the validity of the result, saying Nwaogu was ineligible to fly the PDP flag in the April 9, 2011 general election.
Atuma alleged that Nwaogu lied on oath when she filled in her nomination form that she was from Abia Central Senatorial District as he told the court that contrary to what Nwaogu claimed in her form, she originally hailed from Osisioma-Ngwa Local Government, an area, he said, fell under Abia South Senatorial District.
And having lost the case at the High Court, Atuma appealed to the Court of Appeal and won.
But dissatisfied, Nwaogu appealed to the Supreme Court which upheld the decision of the High Court and set aside the Court of Appeal’s decision.
Justice Francis Adebiyi, while setting aside the lower court decision of December 13, 2011, said, the sole ground for removing Nwaogu from office was not on election irregularities and non-compliance but a question of whether Osisioma Ngwa Local Government was part of the senatorial district.
"The 1st respondent, Hon. Emeka Atuma, sought to explore victory through the back door by relying on an issue that was purely on delineation on federal constituency, the lower court was wrong to have determined that Osisioma Ngwa was not part of the Abia central senatorial district," Justice Adebiyi said in his ruling.