A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, ordered the removal of Rep Chris Azubuogu as the 2023 Anambra South Senatorial District candidate for the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment, directed the party to, forthwith, submit the name of the plaintiff, Ben Nwankwo, to the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) as candidate of APGA for the June 1 primary election.

Justice Ekwo ordered the sack of Azubuogu, who is currently representing Nnewi North/South/Ekwusigo Constituency of Anambra in the House of Representatives, on the grounds that he was a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s member at the time he contested for the APGA poll.

The judge held that the lawmaker violated Section 65 and 68 of the 1999 Constitution in the unlawful way and manner he stood for the primary election under APGA platform and got nominated for the February next year senatorial election for Anambra South.

He agreed with the plaintiff that the 1st defendant (Azubuogu) ought to have resigned, defected or cross carpeted from PDP to APGA before he could lawfully qualify to stand for primary election on the platform of another party.

As a serving member of the House of Representatives under the PDP ticket, Justice Ekwo held that Azubuogu ought to have relinquished the office or seat if he had actually resigned his membership, defected from PDP to APGA or another political party .

The court held that without complying with mandatory provisions of Sections 65 and 68 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 27 of the APGA guidelines for primary election for 2022, there was no way the federal lawmaker could lawfully participate in any primary election other than that of the PDP.

The court held that as at June 1 when APGA conducted its primary election for the nomination of candidate for Anambra South Senatorial District, Azubogu was not qualified to participate.

The court added that any action taken in contravention or breach of the 1999 Constitution is unconstitutional, null and void.

He added that Azubuogu, having not been a member of APGA at the time he purportedly stood for the primary election of the party, cannot be lawfully nominated by APGA.

He consequently nullified his purported nomination and submission of his name to INEC as candidate of APGA for the 2023 senatorial election.

In his place, Justice Ekwo ordered that Nwankwo be submitted to the electoral body as candidate of APGA for the 2023 election.

The judge, who issued restraining order prohibiting Azubuogu from parading himself as APGA candidate in the 2023 election, also restrained INEC from according him recognition as APGA’s candidate.(NAN)