Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, says the Federal High Court only nullified his election as the Ebonyi South Senatorial District and never disqualified him.
Umahi, who spoke on Monday on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, said the reports of his disqualification were untrue.
The Ebonyi governor, who is a former All Progressives Congress’ presidential aspirant, said he approached the court because the Independent National Electoral Commission didn’t publish his name as the APC candidate for the senatorial district.
Last Friday, media reports indicated that the court recognised Princess Ann Agom-Eze as the senatorial candidate of the APC for Ebonyi South.
This followed the withdrawal of Austin Umahi, the governor’s younger brother from the race after winning the ticket during the party’s primary to pave the way for the Ebonyi governor.
Umahi had, through his counsel, who doubles is also his elder brother, Roy Nweze Umahi, sued INEC at the Federal High Court, Abakaliki, seeking INEC to be compelled to recognise him as the authentic senatorial candidate for Ebonyi South Senatorial District.
The second runner-up, Princess Agom-Eze, it was learnt, had withdrawn from the race.
Agom-Eze, on Tuesday, however, approached the court, praying it not to recognise Governor Umahi as the senatorial candidate. She also denied swearing to an affidavit for withdrawal.
Justice Fatun Riman, in his judgement on Friday, cited Section 115 of the Electoral Act, 2022, saying Governor Umahi was not an aspirant and could not participate in the election or pre-election matters of the APC as regards the Ebonyi South primary held on May 28, 2022.
But Umahi told Channels Television on Monday, “The INEC lawyers said that the court ordered for a fresh election and that I was never disqualified.
“I think what happened in the court by the judge cancelling the election of 9th of June 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, for the court to compel INEC to do that.
“Along the line, even the PDP from my senatorial zone, who is a senator now, joined the suit. Also, the person that came second in the first senatorial primary also joined the suit.”
Umahi said the suits were status bared and his lawyer was rather busy trying to file a counter claim, adding, “I think that is where the mistake came from.”
According to him, “someone” won in the first primary and then withdrew his candidacy, giving room for a fresh election which he contested in and won.
The Ebonyi governor argued that he did not purchase two forms during the same election period, claiming to have only got the senatorial form on 9th June after losing out at the APC presidential primary.
But he declined comment on whether he would participate in the fresh election as purportedly directed by the court or approach the Court of Appeal to claim his ticket.
He said, “The learned judge has scheduled an election. Only the appeal court can stop it. It is up to me to decide whether I’m participating or the person who won the election before is going to also come up or any of the members of my constituency will participate.
“So, I’m not going to be telling you whether I am going to the Appeal Court or not.”