Supreme Court, Friday, declared Sir Frank Ibezim as the authentic candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the December 5, 2020 Imo North Senatorial election, as it set aside the earlier disqualification of the candidate by an Abuja High Court.
The latest judgement has also put to rest the long-drawn contest for the seat which has remain vacant following the presentation by the APC of two candidates for the election with their party, the APC winning the poll.
Justice Emmanuel Agim, while delivering a unanimous judgment, held that the suit which led to Ibezim’s disqualification for allegedly supplying false information to secure nomination was statute barred at the time it was instituted.
The suit was filed by Asomugha Elebeke, one of the aspirants, who had expressed interest to contest the party’s primary for the bye-election.
As a result, the Supreme Court voided, nullified and set aside the concurrent judgments of the Abuja Federal High Court; as well as that of the Court of Appeal that nullified the candidacy of Ibezim on the grounds of perjury.
It would be recalled that Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja, had on March 18, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue Ararume with the certificate of return.
The suit before the Supreme Court was that which sought to upturn the judgment of Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, as well as that of the Court of Appeal which both nullified Ibezim’s candidacy. His candidacy was nullified on the grounds that he made false declarations in the documents he submitted to INEC.
Specifically, the lower courts held that Ibezim “bears two different and irreconcilable names,” adding that he presented three falsified West African Examination Council (WAEC) results for the same election.
One of the certificates bears Chukwuemeka Frank Ibezim and another Francis Ibezim Chukwuemeka, among other differences, it was held.