Federal High Court sitting in Awka, the Anambra State capital has sacked Chief Victor Umeh as the candidate of Labour party for Anambra central senatorial zone.
The court, in a 3- hour judgment which was described by legal practitioners as “erudite”, disqualified Umeh on the grounds of noncompliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act as it concerns the membership status of one to contest a party primary.
The court in its ruling on Friday, agreed that Umeh violated the electoral act for standing for election in same Constituency for two different political parties.
The court noted that there was no evidence that the resignation letter by Chief Umeh to the leadership of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) was actually received by the party.
Umeh who contested and lost in APGA, defected to Labour party where he was nominated as the party’s senatorial candidate.
The court therefore nullified Labour party’s primary election that produced Umeh.
With this judgement, Labour party has no candidate in Anambra central senatorial zone.
Hence his name was still in the register of members of APGA as at Sept 30, 2022 when he was said to have contested the party’s primary.
And that his (Umeh’s) name was not in the register of members of Labour Party (LP) as at June 3, 2022, date of the primary election of LP.
The court, therefore, declared null and void the publication of Umeh’s name as a candidate earlier by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as he failed to comply with the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act and the LP constitution.
The court also declared the publication null and void and of no effect.
Justice Nganjiwa further issued an injunction restraining Umeh from parading himself as Senatorial candidate of LP.
The injunction also prevented the LP from accepting or presenting Umeh as her candidate.
This federal high court judgment sacking Senator Victor Umeh came days after the former APGA Chairman decries removal and replacement his of campaign billboards in Anambra.
Meanwhile, Gov. Soludo had said he did not order for the removal of any political candidate’s billboards in Anambra State and that only the Anambra Signage and Advertisement Agency (ANSAA) had regulatory powers over billboards.
“So, it is unfortunate, it is unlawful because there is an existing contract and even if the government considered the space very strategic, I paid for it,” he said.
Umeh said he had no regrets for supporting Prof. Chukwuma Soludo to become governor of Anambra and that he did not intend to seek legal redress on the matter but had abandoned his fate to God.
He said the action was arbitrary and in defiance to the tenets to the rule of law under democracy.
According to him, “my right had been infringed upon and the election is just to about six weeks away, so going to court will amount to distraction.
“I have decided to run to God for protection while waiting for the advertising agency to give me update because I am actually a third party in that contract.
“I am not bothered, I am not discouraged, I have gone through persecution and such things do not weigh me down, it is just a ploy to put a setback on what I am doing but I will not allow them distract me, billboard will not determine who wins,” he said.
According to him, It is only fair that all politicians and political parties should be treated equally, Labour Party cannot choose to be lawless in a society governed by laws and regulations.
“Governor Soludo has been commended as the most tolerant State Governor during this campaign period; he has even allowed Peter Obi to use government facilities for his campaign without paying any fees,” he stated.