Anambra Court restrains Ozigbo from parading as PDP Governorship candidate, bars INEC, PDP

By AdvocateNews on 07/07/2021

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Senator Ugochukwu Uba and Mr. Valentine Ozigbo
Senator Ugochukwu Uba and Mr. Valentine Ozigbo

A High Court of Anambra State sitting in Awka the state capital on Tuesday (6th July 2021) barred the factional candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 6th  November 2021 governorship election, Valentine Ozigbo from parading himself as the PDP candidate.

The order was issued by Justice Obiora Nwabunike in suit no. A/230/2021 SENATOR UGOCHUKWU UBA VS INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION & 2 others filed by the Counsel to Uba, Emeka Nwankwo.

The court also prohibited the PDP from presenting Ozigbo just as it prohibited INEC from accepting Ozigbo as candidate of the PDP until the final determination of the suit brought by Uba to nullify the parallel congress held at the Dora  Akunyili Women Development Centre, Awka at which Ozigbo emerged winner with 62 votes.

Uba claimed that the Congress at which Ozigbo emerged was convened "in disobedience to the judgment of an Abuja High Court, in violation of section 87 of the Electoral Act, sections 25 and 50 of the PDP Constitution and directive of INEC dated 22nd June 2021 which mandated PDP to comply with the Abuja High Court order issued by the honourable  Justice AO Adeniyi."

Uba further claimed that the primary election conducted at the Anambra State Congress held at Saint Paul University Awka at which he (Uba) emerged winner as PDP governorship candidate with 275 votes was the "proper party primary election in full obedience to the judgment of an Abuja High Court, compliance  with section 87 of the Electoral Act, sections 25 and 50 of the PDP Constitution and directive of INEC dated 22nd June 2021 which mandated PDP to comply with the Abuja High Court order issued by the honourable  Justice AO Adeniyi."

In the seven-paragraph, three-page order signed by Justice O.A. Nwabunike and certified by Okeke T.A., Deputy Director, Awka Division of the Anambra State High Court copy of which was obtained by The Advocate,  the judge granted the order prohibiting the three Defendants namely INEC, PDP and Ozigbo thus:

"The Defendants are hereby ordered and directed to await the determination or outcome of this suit and restrained from presenting, receiving, parading, or accepting any person as the Governorship candidate of the 2nd Defendant's party [PDP] for the Governorship election fixed for the 6th November 2021 to elect Governor of Anambra State"

The court, however, adjourned hearing of the main suit to 12th July, 2021 

Given the contentious nature of the the PDP primaries, and the litigation preceding the State Congress, analysts had predicted a slew of litigation to determine the outcome of the primary election.

It would be recalled that the first litigation in the wake of the primary elections which held on Saturday June 26, 2021 was filed on Monday 5th July 2021 at the Court of Appeal, Abuja by the Ozigbo faction which in CA/ABJ/359/2021 PDP VS ANYAKORAH & ORS had sought to bar Uba from enjoying the fruits of the State Congress which endorsed his candidature.

According to the analyst, who preferred anonymity, "this attempt was a double failure as the two motions brought to stay the judgment of the High Court were decried by the appellate court as totally bereft of merit and logic, forcing the PDP's Counsel, Othai Otokpa, to  withdraw the doomed applications  which were immediately struck out by the Appellate Court." 

By the Order of the High Court in Awka dated- Tuesday, 6th July, 2021,  he further said, "the court has given life to the nomination of Senator. Dr. Ugochukwu Uba as the authentic Anambra State PDP Governorship Candidate  as PDP is bound to stop parading Mr. Valentine Ozigbo as the Anambra State PDP Candidate and unless a contrary order is issued at the end of the hearing slated for next week, PDP would have no option but to rally behind Uba, its former Senator for Anambra South in 2003 to 2007."

It would be recalled that the three largest political parties in Anambra State, PDP, APGA and APC held dueling and controversial primaries which produced parallel candidates.  

While the APC and APGA have so far avoided the courts and are resolving their differences through their National Working Committees, it appears the PDP opted for the courts which has created much tension among its members and stakeholders in Anambra state.

The Analysts predicted that unless litigation is resolved in a timely way or the PDP comes to a compromise, valuable time may be lost ahead of the election.

Efforts to get the reaction of the Ozigbo faction following the order of the court on Tuesday were unsuccessful just as their media officers were yet to issue an official statement on the new development. 

Posted 07/07/2021 06:52:43 AM


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