From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

The Supreme Court has settled the legal dispute on the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), for Abia Central Senatorial district in favour of Samuel Ifeanyi Onuigbo. 

In a unanimous judgment on Friday, Justice Emmanuel Agim affirmed the decision of the Owerri Division of the Court of Appeal that nullified the candidacy of Emeka Atuma. 

Consequently, the apex court dismissed the appeal for lacking in merit. 

The court presided over by Justice Justice Rita Pemu, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognise Samuel Onuigbo as the winner and authentic candidate of the APC, primary election for Abia Central senatorial district. 

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Onuigbo had represented Ikwuano/Umuahia federal constituency at the House of Representatives. 

The appellate court upheld the legality of the party primary held on May 28, 2022, which produced Onuigbo who scored the highest number of votes. 

During the primary, Onuigbo came top ahead of his only challenger in the race, Chief Henry Ikoh who was later appointed Minister of State for Science and Technology. 

But Atuma, who did not participate in the primary, was later recognised by the APC as its authentic candidate, an action that was challenged by Onuigbo at the Umuahia Division of the Federal High Court. 

The lawmaker had contended that it amounted to impunity and lack of internal democracy for Atuma who never participated in the senatorial primary but in the governorship primary to be recognized as the winner of an election he never participated in.