At last the D- day is here and the Supreme Court of Nigeria will today, Friday, February 5, enter judgement on the matter pending before it in respect of who, between Senator Ifeanyi Godwin Araraume and Mr Frank Ibezim, is the authentic candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for the Imo North Senatorial election held and won by the Party on December 5, 2020.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had declared the APC winner of that bye election without a candidate, following court judgements against the two claimants to the party ticket, Senator Araraume and Mr Ibezim.
While the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt disqualified Mr Ibezim on grounds of perjury and banned him from contesting elective offices in the future, the Appeal Court threw Senator Araraume out from the contest by declaring that he is not the rightful candidate of the party.
Following these conflicting pronouncements, Senator Araraume and Dr Chidinma Uwajumogu another aspirant to the ticket approached the Supreme Court for the final resolution of the matter.
The court slated Friday as judgment day after hearing from both parties on Wednesday.
In the first Appeal marked: SC/971/2020, Senator Araraume had dragged Lady Uchenna Uba and four others before the apex court; even as he also filed a second motion marked: SC/971/2020, against Mr Ibezim and others.
The third Appeal marked SC/1060/2020 was filed by Dr Chidinma Uwajumogu also against Mr Ibezim and others.
When the matter came up on Monday, Ahmed Raji (SAN), leading Araraume’s legal team, informed the Apex court that the three appeals were on the same issue of determining who is authentic candidate of APC and by extension, winner of the bye-election.
During proceedings on Monday, the panel had to adjourn the matter to Wednesday when it observed that processes were not duly served on all parties.
A five-man panel of the court, led by Justice Amina Augie heard the first appeal, of which it’s decision is binding on the other two appeals, before fixing February 5, for judgement, to beat the February 7, deadline for all pre-election litigations in Court.
Ahead of the judgement, sources revealed to Nigeria Newspoint that anxiety and tension have enveloped the two camps of Gov Hope Uzodinma and that of Senators Rochas Okorocha and Araraume.
The two camps have been at daggers drawn ever since Gov Uzodinma allegedly reneged on agreements reached between the trio before the Supreme Court judgement on the 2019 Imo governorship election, on January 14, 2020.
Their feud however, worsened in the wake of preparations for the Okigwe Senate bye election when the governor openly opposed the aspiration of Senator Araraume and instead threw his weight behind the aspiration of Mr Ibezim.
The tension in both camps it was further gathered is because of the far reaching implications of the judgement on the political fortunes of both camps but, more particularly the Okorocha and Araraume camp.
A win for Araraume and his camp would mean a very big boost, as it would add more energy and firepower to their struggle to have a foothold in the party, which seems to be under the control of the governor at the moment.
Conversely, analysts posit that they may well go and sow their political retirement clothes after tomorrow, should Mr Ibezim win because, it will be extremely difficult for them to overrun Gov Uzodinma and Hon. Nwajiuba camp with the added advantage of Mr Ibezim as a senator for Okigwe Zone.