The Labour Party (LP) senatorial candidate for Abia North, Nnamdi Iro Orji, has filed an appeal with the court, requesting the disqualification of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Orji’s appeal, submitted by his lead counsel, Bert C. Iqwilo, SAN, is based on three grounds. He argues that Kalu’s admission in an Abuja Federal High Court, stating he should not be retried due to a previous conviction for corruption, should disqualify him.
Orji also contends that the election was not conducted according to the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022, as voting did not take place in some polling units. Furthermore, Orji asserts that Kalu’s conviction for fraud, less than ten years before the election, renders him ineligible to contest.
Orji calls attention to the tribunal’s oversight of evidence indicating invalidity due to corrupt practices or non-compliance with electoral laws, urging the appellate court to rule in his favor. In the election, Kalu was declared the winner with 30,805 votes, while the LP candidate received 27,540 votes.
According to him, Kalu’s conviction by the Federal High Court “for the offence of fraud (which is an offence that involves dishonesty) on the 5th day of December, 2019, at the conclusion of the trial of the 1st Respondent in Charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/56/07, Federal Republic of Nigeria v. Orji Uzor Kalu & 2 ors” was “less than ten (10) years from the date of conviction”.
“It was admitted on his behalf that he had earlier been convicted for the offence of fraud by the Federal High Court.
“The Federal High Court in the said Suit No.: FHC/ABJ/CS/73/2021 upheld the argument” of Kalu “that he had been convicted on the 5th day of December, 2019 in the said Charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/56/07 and therefore, prohibited any fresh arraignment in respect of the same offence in Charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/56/07,”