Ebonyi 2023: Why Court affirms Ifeanyi as PDP Guber Candidate

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The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has been ordered to immediately transmit the name of Chukuma Odi Ifeanyi and other successful candidates that emerged from its May 28 and 29 to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

Justice Fatun Riman of the Federal High Court made the order in his judgment in a suit marked FHC/AI/CS/105/2022, filed by Chukuma Odi Ifeanyi, against the Peoples Democratic Party, the Independent National Electoral Commission and Senator Obinna Joseph Ogba.

Justice Riman sitting in the Abakaliki, division of the court, Ebonyi State ordered the PDP and the electoral body to comply with the judgment without delay.

The court similarly ordered INEC, its agents, servants and workmen among others from recognizing, in any manner whatsoever, the purported primary elections allegedly held by the PDP in Ebonyi State on the 4th and 5th of June this year.

By the judgement,  Chief Chukwuma Odii Ifeanyi is now the legally recognized PDP governorship candidate in the State.

The court further granted a declaration that the Peoples Democratic Party could not have held any valid House of Assembly, House of Representatives, Senate primaries in Ebonyi State on 4/6/2022 and 5/6/2022 and Governorship primary Selection on 5/6/2022 in Ebonyi State.

Justice Riman has consequently set aside the governorship election primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Ebonyi state, held on 4th and 5th of June 2022 as well as the Governorship primary Selection on 5th June, 2022 in Ebonyi State.

Describing the process leading to the 4th and 5th of June this year’s governorship election primaries as unconstitutional, the court set aside the primary elections of the House of Assembly, House of Representatives, and Senate of the party.

Justice Riman, in his judgement in suit, categorically said over 90 percent of the 3-man ward ad-hoc delegates of the PDP did not participate in the said date, adding that it was also not monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

Joined as defendants in the suit filed by Chief Chukwuma Odii Ifeanyi are PDP, INEC and Senator Obinna Joseph Ogba.

The plaintiff, had in the suit approached the court, sitting in Abakaliki, the state capital, to set aside the primary elections.

After considering the processes filed by parties and submissions of counsel in the matter, the court held, “It is hereby ordered as follows:That a declaration that the purported House of Assembly, House of Representatives, Senates and Governorship primary elections of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ebonyi State held on 4/6/2022 and 5/6/2022 is unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect whatsoever, for offending the provisions of the said extant Acts, referred to above and the valid and subsistence order of a court of competent jurisdiction is granted.

“That a declaration that the Peoples Democratic Party could not have held any valid House of Assembly, House of Representatives, Senate primaries in Ebonyi State on 4/6/2022 and 5/6/2022 and Governorship primary Selection on 5/6/2022 in Ebonyi State whereat one Senator Obinna Joseph Ogba could have emerged as Governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ebonyi State as over 90% of the 3-man ward ad-hoc delegates of the Peoples Democratic Party did not participate and the Independent National Electoral Commission did not monitor the said primaries is granted.

“That an order of court restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission for itself, its agents, servants, workmen, etc from recognizing in any manner whatsoever the purported primary elections allegedly held by the Peoples Democratic Party in Ebonyi State on 4/6/2022 and 5/6/2022 is granted.

“That an order of court mandating the Peoples Democratic Party for itself, its agents, servants, workmen, etc to transmit the names of the candidates that emanated from the primary elections of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ebonyi State on 28/5/2022 and 29/5/2022 which said results are in custody of the Peoples Democratic Party is granted.”

Recall that the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja had, on the same Tuesday, ordered the retrial of an initial Federal High Court judgment which affirmed Dr. Odii’s candidature.

With this recent decision, the ordered retrial now becomes academic as all live issues concerned have been addressed in the new judgment.

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