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Court sacks two PDP Lawmakers

Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja has ordered two House of Representatives members to vacate their seats.
The affected law makers are Stella Ngwu (representing Igbo-Etti/Uzo-Uwani Federal Constituency) and Dennis Agbo (representing Igbo Eze North/Udenu Federal Constituency) both in Enugu State.
Both law makers are of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The judge ordered the sack of the two legislators in his judgments in two suits, delivered last Friday.
The Nation sighted yesterday, certified true copies of the enrolled orders drawn from the judgment.

The suits marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1088/14 and FHC/ABJ/CS/1104 were initiated by Gabriel Okafor and Chijoke Ugwu.
The plaintiffs challenged the nomination of the sacked legislators as the candidates of their party, which the judge upheld in his judgments.

By the judgments, Okafor is to replace Ngwu (for Igbo-Etti/Uzo-Uwani Federal Constituency), while Ugwu will take the place of Agbo (for Igbo Eze North/Udenu Federal Constituency).
The judge ruled that the sacked legislators were wrongly nominated by the PDP as the parties 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 held that the emergence of Ngwu and Agbo violated provisions of sections 85 to 89 of the Electoral Act, 2010 and Electoral Guidelines for Primary Elections.
The judge further held that the plaintiffs proved their cases to the effect that authentic primaries held on December 6, 2014, by exhibiting proofs, including the results declared at the end of the exercise, the panel’s report on the primaries and the lists of delegates used.

The PDP, its National Working Committee (NWC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were listed as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants in both cases, while Ngwu and Agbo were 4th defendants in both suits.

On Ugwu’s case, the judge said: “It is hereby declared that, having been declared the winner of the said primary, the 1st and 2nd defendants herein ought to have submitted the name of Chijioke H. Ugwu to INEC as its candidate for 2015 election for Igbo-Eze North/Udenu Federal Constituency of Enugu State in the House of Representatives and is entitled to be issued with a certificate of returns in respect of the said election.

“It is hereby ordered that INEC shall without delay and forthwith issue Chijioke H. Ugwu with certificate of return in respect of the House of Representatives election for Igbo-Eze North/Udenu Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.

“The 4th defendant, Mr. Dennis Nnamchi Agbo is hereby ordered to vacate forthwith the seat of Igbo-Eze North/Udenu Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.

“The 4th defendant, Mr. Dennis Nnamchi Agbo shall refund to the coffers of the National Assembly of Nigeria forthwitth all monies he collected by way of salaries, allowances whatsoever described since he took the seat in the House of Representatives as a result of 2015 general elections under the pretext of being duly elected candidate of PDP to represent Igbo-Eze North/Udenu Federal Constituency.”

Justice Agang handed out similar orders in favour of Okafor in the judgment on his case.
The judge relied on the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Gwede Vs INEC delivered in 2015 in ordering the sacked law makers to refund their earnings.

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