Court declares Ebonyi PDP gov candidate, Odii, authentic

After Dr Ifeanyi Odii won the governorship primary on May 29, the Abakaliki Division of the Federal High Court proclaimed him to be the party’s legitimate candidate on Friday.

The Independent National Electoral Commission and PDP were the targets of a lawsuit filed by one Tochukwu Okorie with the case number FHC/ABJ/CS/2020/2022.

The PDP primary in Ebonyi State on May 28 and 29 was canceled by the court at the request of Mr. Okorie because it was held blatantly in violation of the Court of Appeal’s order, postponing the implementation of the Federal High Court’s ruling in Abuja that had named Joseph Sila Onu as the party’s chairman for Ebonyi State.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court had in a judgment delivered on April 13, 2022, recognised Joseph Silas Onu as the authentic Chairman of the Ebonyi State chapter of the PDP.

Dissatisfied with the decision, Tochukwu Okorie through his Counsel, Nkemakolam Okoro approached the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal to set aside the judgment of the lower court.

The appellant followed it up with a motion for a stay of execution of the judgment of the Federal High Court which was granted by the appellate court.

Specifically, the Court of Appeal had on May 23, ordered the stay of execution of the judgment of the Federal High Court and directed that all parties be returned to status quo ante bellum.

However, despite the decision and enrolled orders of the Court of Appeal, which was duly served on the PDP, who was equally a party to the appeal, the PDP continued to recognise Joseph Silas Onu, as its state Chairman, in disobedience of the said orders of the Court of Appeal.

Mr Okorie further argued that Mr Onu had on May 28th and 29th, pursuant to the letters dated May 5th, 7th and 13th, Joseph Silas Onu at the behest of the PDP in Ebonyi State, convened and chaired the state Congress of the party in the state for the purpose of conducting the primary election in the state, in defiance of the clear orders of the Court of Appeal staying the execution of the judgment of the Federal High Court 

In his suit, the plaintiff had prayed the court to set aside the actions of the PDP taken against the subsisting orders of the court.

In his ruling, Justice Fatun Riman however dismissed the matter and lambasted Mr Okorie for abusing court processes by instituting similar matters across various jurisdictions of the Federal High Court in the country.

The court accused him of forum shopping for a favourable judgement.

The court noted that the issues raised in the matter have already been settled by the supreme court and as such should not have been brought to the court to adjudicate again. 

The court therefore set aside the prayers of Mr Tochukwu for lacking in merit.

Reacting, a Lawyer to the PDP, Mudi Erhenede hailed the court for the judgement.

He noted that with the judgement the earlier judgement issued by the Abuja Division of the court two days ago nullifying the congresses and primaries of the party has been vacated.

He said, “The essence of today’s judgement which is for the court to set aside the primaries of 28 and 29 and congresses of the party has been dismissed by the court.

“When you have two judgement of courts of coordinate jurisdiction, the later judgement supercedes.”

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