By Milcah Tanimu
Hon. Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, the representative for Ideato North/South Federal Constituency, has expressed his dissatisfaction with the judgment of the Imo State National and State House of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal, which allegedly ordered a supplementary election. Ugochinyere argued that this verdict contradicts established legal positions.
He cited Section 285(14)(c) of the 1999 Constitution (as altered), which restricts political parties from challenging the decisions and actions of INEC that disqualify their own candidates or relate to issues such as the nomination of candidates, election timetables, voter registration, and other INEC activities. In essence, a political party can only file a pre-election matter when these issues affect its candidates. If INEC’s actions relate to a different political party, no court has jurisdiction to entertain a suit from another party.
Ugochinyere also referred to a Supreme Court judgment, SC/CV/501/2023, which states that a political party challenging another party’s candidate nomination is a meddlesome interloper with no legal standing to bring such a suit.
Blaming Governor Hope Uzodimma for influencing the tribunal’s decision, Ugochinyere asserted that the outcome of the House of Representatives election would not define him, and he remains committed to representing the people.
The tribunal’s ruling instructed INEC to conduct a supplementary election in the constituency within 90 days.