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IMO WEST: A'COURT STOPS IZUNASO AS PDP CANDIDATE

By NBF News
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The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, has stopped the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), from complying with the judgment of a Federal High Court, which had restrained it from accepting the name of Hope Uzodinma as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Imo West Senatorial District.

The appellate court, in a ruling delivered by Justice Paul Galinje on the application for a stay of execution of the judgment brought by Uzodinma, held there are special circumstances that warrant the grant of a stay of execution of the judgment of the lower court.

According to the court, 'a special circumstance that would warrant the balance of justice is a basic ingredient to merit the grant of an application for a stay which the applicant has shown.'

Besides, the court explained that, 'the grounds for granting or refusing an application for stay of judgment is a discretion of the court, which must be exercised judicially and judiciously.'

Justice Galinje further held that 'the PDP has denied that it has not submitted the name of the respondent (Senator Osita Izunaso) to INEC the mysterious way in which his name was published remains a mystery. The judgment of the lower court, to the understanding of this court, has not been executed in so far as the PDP has not submitted the name of the 1st respondent to INEC.

'Although an appeal does not operate as a stay of execution, however, in order not to impose the court with a fait accompli steps must be taken to protect the res. As I earlier held that the judgment of the lower court has not been executed by INEC and if there is any such execution it is of no consequence. Accordingly, the order is hereby made, staying the execution of the judgment of the Federal High Court pending the hearing and determination of the appeal,' he declared.

An Abuja Federal High Court had on January 28 declared Senator Izunaso as the legitimate winner of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary election for the Imo West Senatorial District.

The court also restrained the PDP from presenting the name of Hope Uzodinma as its candidate to INEC.

The court presided over by Justice Abdul Kafarati, in his ruling, nullified PDP's purported selection of Hope Uzodinma as the winner of the party primary held on January 8 on the grounds that he had been disqualified by the party's screening committee to participate in the primary election.

The court said that Izunaso, having scored the highest number of votes among the eligible contestants in the primary for Imo West Senatorial District, was entitled to have his name submitted to INEC for the April National Assembly polls.