The Court of Appeal Abuja has declared Mister Francis Agbo as the validly nominated candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency of Benue State.
In a unanimous decision, the three-member panel of the appellate court held that Ms Aida Ogwuche who was declared winner of the PDP primaries by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was still a staff of the Federal Inland Revenue Service at the time of the election.
Agbo, who doubles as the Chairman of the House Committee on Narcotics and Drugs, came second in the disputed primary election.
Consequently, the court ordered INEC to immediately withdraw the certificate of return issued to her and issued the same to Agbo as the validly nominated candidate of the party for the federal seat.
Justice B. I Gafai who led the panel of justices said that Ogwuche ought to have resigned her employment from the service before contesting in the primary election of the PDP.
The judge relied on Section 66 (I) (f) of the 1999 Constitution to declare Ogwuche’s election as unlawful and invalid.
The Federal High Court Makurdi had on November 11, 2022, declared Ogwuche as the duly elected candidate of the PDP for the Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency.
Agbo had approached the trial court for an order for disqualifying Ogwuche’s candidacy on the grounds that she did not resign her appointment 30 days before contesting the election.