THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should issue a Certificate of Return to Senator Ifeanyi Araraume as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Imo North by-election held on December 5, lawyers have said.
According to them, Ararume’s opponent for the party’s ticket, Frank Ibezim, stands disqualified by the Federal High Court.
The lawyers noted that since Araraume filed a Notice of Appeal and a Motion for Stay of Execution at the Supreme Court on the judgment of the Appeal Court which had pronounced Ibezim winner of the APC primaries, nobody could remove his name for that of Ibezim.
Besides, they said Ibezim had not appealed a judgment by Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja on his electoral status.
One of the lawyers, Victor Giwa, said Ibezim was encumbered by both his disqualification by the APC Screening Committee and the Federal High Court judgment.
Another lawyer, Godson Okoye, urged INEC and the courts to do the needful on the Imo North Senatorial by-election. They also urged Ararume not to give up in his quest for justice.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri declared Ibezim the authentic APC candidate in the by-election.
The judgment, which was delivered less than 24 hours to the by-election, was read by Justice Uchechukwu Onyemenam. The Court of Appeal faulted the November 6, 2020, judgment that sacked Ibezim and announced Araraume as the candidate of APC.
The appellate court held that Ibezim won the party’s primary election