The Supreme Court has declared Frank Ibezim of the All Progressive Congress, APC as the winner of the Okigwe Senatorial Bye-election (Imo North). The five man panel equally ordered INEC to issue Certificate of Return to him within 72hours.
In arriving at it’s decision, the apex court in a unanimous judgment voided, nullified and set aside the concurrent judgments of the Federal high court in Abuja and that of the Court of Appeal which nullified the candidacy of Ibezim on the ground of perjury.
Justice Emmanuel Agim, who delivered the judgment, held that the suit which led to disqualification of Ibezim for allegedly supplying false information to secure nomination was statute barred at the time it was instituted.
You will recall that Mr Ibezim contested in the Imo North Senatorial zone election and was declared the authentic candidate of the APC by the Supreme Court. He was however disqualified by the Appeal Court as Senator on the basis of identity crisis.
Mr Ibezim was accused of making false declaration regarding his WAEC, University and NYSC certificates. The names contained in the said certificates are a mixture of FRANCIS & FRANK. The WAEC result entries eventhough they bear same year and registration number have different entries.
The affidavit form showing that he lost his certificate ten years ago neither has the signature of the deponent nor any police extract to show loss of document. Also, he submitted a declaration of age form purportedly declared by his elder brother Mr Emmanuel which was not signed.
Now, in the document attached to his affidavit before INEC, the said affidavit was now signed but this time by himself and not his senior brother. Hence, apart from suspicion of age falsification, these exhibits show that Mr Ibezim bears different names at his whims and caprices.
With the Supreme Court fresh decision, the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC will now proceed to formally declare winner of the election and issue Ibezim certificate of return as required by law for him to be inaugurated as a senator.
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