Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi has denied being disqualified from contesting the Ebonyi South Senatorial District election on the platform of the All-Progressives Party (APC).
He clarified that the Federal High Court in Abakaliki did not disqualify him from the race but rather ordered that a fresh primary election be conducted in the senatorial zone.
Governor Umahi made the clarification while appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Monday said the counsel for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) also confirmed the ruling of the court.
“The fact remains that I have not seen the court judgement, but I have asked those who went to court, and I have spoken to the INEC lawyer that was in court,” he said. “The INEC lawyer said two things: that the court order for a fresh election, and that I was never disqualified. This is very important.
“The judge cancelling the election of June 9 may not be the fault of the judge; the judge made use of the evidence before him. Our lawyer went to court because INEC did not publish my name, as submitted by the party – APC.
“The lawyer went to court on my behalf within the 14 days the publication of INEC came out to compel INEC to do that and along the line, even the PDP from my senatorial zone joined the suit. The person who came second in the first senatorial primary election also joined the suit, my sister Ann Agom-Eze.”
The governor was among several others who picked the presidential nomination and expression of interest forms of the APC sold at N100 million.
Among others who also pick the forms were the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo; Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; and former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio.
Following the victory of a chieftain of the party, Bola Tinubu, in the primary, reports emerged that Governor Umahi had purchased the APC nomination and expression of interest forms for the Ebonyi South senatorial election.
Amid controversy that the Electoral Act does not allow for the purchase of such forms at the same time, he stressed that the presidential primary had concluded way before he joined the senatorial race.
“The APC presidential election ended on May 7 and by then, there were no more aspirants,” the governor said. “The time to appeal the decision of that convention had passed and so, the presidential (primary) election had been concluded.
“30 days (later), the candidate of the party withdrew … I bought my form on June 9; so, there was no time I had two forms at the same time.”