The fate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Imo East Senatorial candidate, Francis Ezenwa Oyewuchi is now hanging in the balance if the Federal High Court 2 judgement reserved for February 1 is anything to go by.
It would be recalled that after the PDP primary election last October, one of the contestants to the position Prince Ugochukwu Nwachukwu had challenged the action of the party which he claimed wrongfully substituted his name as the winner of the primary election with that of Francis Ezenwa Onyewuchi.
The suit was filed on the 10th October, 2018 but when it came up on December 12th last year at the Owerri Federal High Court 2 presided over by Justice J.T. Ringim he refused to take oral evidence and instead ordered all the parties to file their court processes, both notice of preliminary objection to the suits by the first and second defendants and with the application of the plaintiff to be heard same day.
The Court adjourned to the 14th January for hearing. On commencement of hearing, the Judge observed that the hearing notice on the case file to the 3rd defendant which is the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, was served on its Owerri office instead of INEC Abuja.
He therefore ordered the plaintiff to ensure that the INEC headquarters is served at Abuja so that the Court can proceed to hearing the matter and further adjourned the matter to Wednesday, the 23rd January, 2019.INEC has never been represented since the commencement of the action.
When the suit was mentioned for hearing Wednesday, the Court observed that the hearing notice was served on INEC in Abuja on the 16th January, 2019 by an affidavit deposed to on the 17th and proceeded to hear all the applications of preliminary objections in the originating summons.
During the arguments, the Counsel for the defendants had argued that the plaintiff never participated in the primary election and therefore was never qualified to take out any action. He cited some authorities in connection to this.
But Barr. Frank A Chukuka, representing the plaintiff countered that his client duly underwent the processes, bought the form for N3.5m and had his name in the ballot papers but at the verge of the election, is name was unlawfully excluded without reason, moments to the election.
Barr K C Njemanze SAN and former Attorney-General of Imo States stood in for Francis Ezenwa Onyewuchi while Barr. F.N. Onwuzuluike holds brief for the PDP.
Justice Ringim later adjourned the matter to the Ist of February, 2019 for judgement.