The Supreme Court has declared Frank Ibezim the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Imo North Senatorial District in the December 5, 2020 bye-election after it dismissed two appeals by Senator Ifeanyi Ararume.

A five-member panel of the apex court presided by Justice Amina Augie on Friday upheld the earlier judgements of the Court of Appeal in Owerri and Federal High Court in Owerri.

In the lead judgment read by Justice Tijani Abubakar, the apex court held that “the lower court (Court of Appeal) was right in coming to the conclusion that the first respondent (Ibezim) was shut out and denied of his right to be heard as a necessary party in the suit at the trial court (Federal High Court).

“Therefore, the proceedings of the trial court constitute a nullity and must be struck out. Appellant’s appeal, therefore, lacked merit and it is hereby dismissed’’, the court said.

The apex court directed that the judgments should be applied to the cross-appeal, marked: SC/1060/2020 filed Dr Edith Chidinma Uwajimogu, in which she sought to have Ararume declared as the candidate of the APC.

The Imo North Senatorial seat became vacant following the death of Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu of the APC in December 2019.

The dispute over candidacy from the primary, left the APC without a candidate in the December 5, 2020 senatorial election, but the party went ahead to poll 36, 811 votes against 31, 903 votes by the PDP in the six local governments of Obowo, Okigwe, Onuimo, Isiala Mbano, Ehime Mbano, and Ihitte Uboma.

By Maazi

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