Judicial decisions are influential in validating and invalidating political aspirants, and court orders are not always favourable to the political ambitions of candidates. One of them is the ruling by Yola High Court, which has set a precedent for electoral outcomes in other states.
On 7 October 2022, Elisha Abbo, who was a serving senator, was expelled from the All Progressives Congress (APC) by the party’s executives in the Mubi North local government area of Adamawa State. Their decision made the court disqualify him from being recognized as Adamawa North’s senatorial candidate in the coming elections and restrained him from enjoying the rights and privileges accorded to APC members.
This event could be relevant to the Enugu East’s senatorial election because just like Elisha Abbo, the district’s sitting senator – Chimaroke Nnamani – has been expelled from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for anti-party activities and other actions that violated the party’s constitution. Nnamani, who was Enugu’s former two-time governor, had taken sides with APC’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, thereby positioning himself against the PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar. This could very well reduce his chances of returning for a third term as Enugu East’s senator.
This is because his preferred candidate, Tinubu, is hugely unpopular in the region, which has pitched its tent with the Labour Party (LP)’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, who could be a rising tide that lifts all LP’s boats in other elections. The LP’s senatorial candidate in Enugu East, Victor Oyibo Chukwu, has tried to take advantage of this situation by petitioning the Federal High Court, Abuja, to disqualify Senator Nnamani from participating in the 2023 senatorial elections.
If Chukwu’s appeal is successful, the race would eventually be between him and the APC’s senatorial candidate, Mrs Adaku Ogbu-Aguocha. It is possible that Nnamani’s stature in the district will still be enough to get him the highest number of votes but if the Yola High Court’s ruling is a sign of things to come, his influence might not matter much eventually.