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Appeal Court declares Ottah, Benue PDP Reps candidate, nullifies Aida Ogwuche’s candidacy

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Jubilation among the people of Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo federal constituency of Benue State Thursday as Court of Appeal nullified alleged manipulated nomination of Aida Ogwuch as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the forthcoming elections.

The presiding judge, Honourable Justice Bature Gafai had declared Hon Francis Ottah Agbo as the validly nominated candidate of the PDP for the February 25, 2023 federal constituency election in Benue.

The Panel in its judgement held that Ms Ogwuche was still a staff member of the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) as of the time of her nomination – an action the justice said was in violation of the Nigerian constitution.

Citing Section 66 (I) (f) of the constitution, the Court of Appeal declared Ms Ogwuche’s nomination as “unlawful and invalid.”

“The decision of the lower court recognising the participation and election of the first respondent in the election is illegal and unlawful.”

Consequently, the appellate court ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Ogwuche and re-issue same to Agbo as the duly elected candidate.

Hon. Agbo is the incumbent member representing the Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo federal constituency in the House of Representatives.

AFRIPOST recalls that Justice Abdul Dogo of the Federal High Court in Makurdi had on November 11, 2022 declared Ogwuche as the duly nominated candidate of the PDP for the forthcoming election.

But dissatisfied, Agbo approached the Court of Appeal in Abuja praying for the upturning of the lower court’s judgement on the ground that she did not resign her appointment from the FIRS 30 days before contesting, as stipulated in the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act as amended.

Hon Agbo, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Narcotics and Drugs, came second in the PDP primary election for the Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo federal constituency of Benue State.

He had argued that his opponent only resigned from FIRS two days after she won the party’s primary election.

According to the aggrieved lawmaker, Ogwuche was also engaged by the Benue State government as principal special assistant to the Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom.

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