Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
A Federal High Court in Abuja has sacked two members of the House of Representatives from Enugu State.
The sacked legislators, elected to the House on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, are Stella Ngwu representing Igbo-Etti/Uzo-Uwani Federal Constituency and Mr. Dennis Agbo representing Igbo Eze North/Udenu Federal Constituency.
Justice Okon Abang delivered separate judgments in sacking the two legislators on Friday but the enrolled orders of the court were certified on Tuesday.
Justice Abang in the separate judgments ordered Gabriel Okafor to replace Ngwu as the representative of Igbo-Etti/Uzo-Uwani Federal Constituency and Mr. Chijoke Ugwu to replace Agbo and take over the seat of Igbo Eze North/Udenu Federal Constituency.
Okafor and Ugwu are the plaintiffs in the two separate suits, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1088/14 and FHC/ABJ/CS/1104, challenging the nomination of the sacked legislators as the candidates of the party.
The PDP, the National Working Committee of the party and the Independent National Electoral Commission were the 1st to 3rd defendants in the two suits.
While Ngwu was the 4th defendant in Okafor’s suit, Agbo was the fourth defendant in Ugwu’s.
The judge ruled that the sacked legislators were wrongly nominated by the PDP as they did not emerge as the winners of the primaries conducted by the PDP for the purpose of the last year’s House of Representatives elections in their constituencies.
He held that it was unconstitutional, illegal and unlawful for the PDP and its National Working Committee to have conducted the primaries from which the sacked legislators emerged using the lists of delegates other than the ones produced from the ward congresses held on November 1, 2014.
Justice Abang ruled that the emergence of Ngwu and Agbo violated provisions of sections 85 – 89 of the Electoral Act, 2010 and Electoral Guidelines for Primary Elections.
He held that the plaintiffs were able to prove their cases by showing that the authentic primaries held on December 6, 2014 with proof of the results declared at the end of the exercise, the panel’s report on the primaries and the lists of delegates used.
The judge ordered the sacked legislators to refund their earnings, citing the Supreme Court judgment on Gwede Vs INEC delivered in 2015.
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Ade Adesomoju, Abuja