The Supreme Court of Nigeria has affirmed Senator Athan Achonu as the authentic candidate of the Labour Party (LP) for the November 11 governorship election in Imo State. The apex court dismissed an appeal filed by Basil Maduka, who challenged Achonu’s nomination by the party.
Maduka had approached the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal to nullify Achonu’s candidature, claiming that he was the rightful winner of the LP primaries. However, both courts ruled in favour of Achonu, prompting Maduka to appeal to the Supreme Court.
On Thursday, September 28, a five-justice panel led by Justice Iyang Okoro upheld the decisions of the lower courts and threw out Maduka’s appeal for lack of merit. The panel also berated Maduka for abusing the court process and wasting the time of the judges.
The Supreme Court’s ruling was greeted with jubilation by Achonu and his supporters, who gathered at the LP secretariat in Abuja. Achonu, who is aiming to become the first physically challenged governor in the country, thanked the justices for their wisdom and fairness. He also called on the people of Imo State to vote for him and the LP in the upcoming election.
Achonu, a former senator representing Imo North, promised to run a people-oriented administration that would bring development and prosperity to the state. He said he would tackle the challenges of insecurity, unemployment, infrastructure, education, health, and agriculture in the state.
He also vowed to end the era of godfatherism and the imposition of candidates in the state, saying that the LP was the only party that respected the wishes of the people and the rule of law. He urged the people of Imo State to reject the candidates of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), whom he accused of being responsible for the woes of the state.
The National Legal Officer of the LP, Kehinde Edun, praised the Supreme Court justices for their ruling and appealed to the people of Imo State to support their candidate. He said that Achonu was the best choice for the state, as he had the experience, vision, and passion to transform the state.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed November 11 as the date for the governorship election in Imo State, following the nullification of the 2022 election that produced Governor Hope Uzodinma. The election is expected to be keenly contested by the candidates of the APC, PDP, LP, and other parties.