pdp senatorsSupreme Court of Nigeria yesterday in Abuja sacked two senators and members of the House of Representatives from Anambra State.
Senator representing Anambra North Senatorial District, Stella Oduah and her counterpart representing Anambra South Senatorial District, Andy Ubah were the major casualties of the apex court decision.
Also affected are members of the House of Representatives elected on the ticket of the PDP.
Chris Uba, younger brother to Andy Uba, and Prince Emeka are expected to take over seats vacated by Andy Uba and Stella Oduah respectively.
Former Senator Annie Okonkwo is in line to represent the PDP in a forthcoming election to fill a senatorial seat held by Uche Ekwunife who was sacked last December by the Court of Appeal.
In Friday’s ruling by the Supreme Court upheld an earlier decision by Justice Chukwu of the Federal High Court laying out the proper procedures for selection of the PDP’s legislative candidates.
In December 2014, the Federal High Court had ruled that only the constitutionally recognised state party leadership led by Ejike Oguebego could organise the party primaries.
The Supreme Court’s ruling reaffirmed the High Court’s verdict, declaring that the Ejike Oguebego-led PDP executive had the sole right to hold the primaries in Anambra State.
In a unanimous judgment by a five man panel of justices that was delivered yesterday, the Supreme Court nullified the election that produced the entire contingent of federal lawmakers from Anambra State.
In the lead judgment delivered by Justice Inyang Okoro, the apex court set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal Division in Abuja, delivered on February 16, 2015, but upheld the decision of the Abuja Federal High Court that was delivered on December 15, 2014.
Nigerian Pilot Saturday recalled that the Anambra State Executive Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, led by Ejike Oguebego had dragged the PDP, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the Chukwudi Okasia-led faction of the PDP to court over the validity of the state’s party leadership.
During subsistence and pendency of the legal battle over the party leadership, the PDP went ahead to constitute an ad hoc committee to oversee the party’s affairs.
After full trial and fully hearing of the parties, Justice Evoh Chukwu of the Federal High Court Abuja held that the purported Ad hoc Committee (Chukwudi Akasia-led State Executive Committee) set up during the pendency of the suit was “illegal, null and void.”
The trial court also ordered that any delegate list or nominated candidates that emanated from the primaries conducted by the Akasia-led committee (which produced Odua and Uba) was “illegal, invalid, unconstitutional and an abuse of court process and cannot be used for any purpose.
The trial judge, Justice Chukwu further restrained INEC from accepting nominated candidates that emerged from the Akasia-led committee of the PDP.
But delivering its judgment on the matter, the apex court noted that facts leading to the appeal were products of the struggle for the soul of the PDP in Anambra State.
In dissecting the judgment of the appellate court, the Supreme Court took a swipe at the court for failing to protect the sanctity of the trial court’s orders, which restrained the respondents (PDP, Akasia-led Committee and INEC) from taking further steps while the matter was in court.
“A Court of law has the jurisdiction to protect its own judgment from being ridiculed or disparaged as done by the 1st respondent (PDP) in this case. Any disobedience to court’s order is a serious contempt and courts of law must protect themselves from being maligned or ridiculed,” the apex court held.
On the issue of jurisdiction and commencement of the suit by an originating summons by the appellants (Ejike Oguebego and Chuks Okoye) before the trial court, the Supreme Court held that Originating Summons was properly used to commence the suit.
It equally held that the trial court had jurisdiction to have entertained the suit, since the case involved a federal agency such as INEC.
The apex court explained that there was no doubt that the PDP ignored the subsisting order of the trial and set up a caretaker committee for Anambra State PDP in brazen contempt of the court.
In allowing the appeal, the Supreme Court held, “Having resolved all the five issues in favour of the appellants, I hold that there is merit in this appeal which is hereby allowed.
Anambra Central Senatorial district is regarded as one of the most keenly contested in the country having a former Governor Chris Ngige, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Victor Umeh and of course, Mrs. Ekwunife.


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