Ike Nnachi, Abakaliki
The Abakaliki Division of the Federal High Court on Friday declared the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that emerged from the May 28 and 29 primaries as the authentic candidates of the party.
The court therefore declared Mr Ifeanyi Odii as the authentic governorship candidate of the party having emerged from the governorship primary of May 29.
The Court gave the ruling in a suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/2020/2022 filed by Tochukwu Okorie against the PDP and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Mr Okorie had urged the court to cancel the PDP primary in Ebonyi state of May 28 and 29.
He argued that it was conducted in flagrant disobedience of the order of the Court of Appeal, staying the execution of the judgment of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, which had declared Joseph Sila Onu as the Ebonyi State Chairman of the party.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court had in a judgment delivered on April 13, 2022, recognized Joseph Silas Onu as the authentic Chairman of the Ebonyi State chapter of the PDP.
Dissatisfied with the decision, Okoroafor 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 stay of execution of the judgment of the Federal High Court which was granted by the appellate court.
He argued that the primaries was conducted in flagrant abuse of the specific orders of the 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 favorable judgment.
The court noted that the issues of the primaries and candidates of the party had already been settled by the supreme court and as such should not have been brought to the federal high court to adjudicate again.
The court therefore set aside the prayers of Mr Tochukwu and dismissed the suit for lacking in merit.
The judgment comes two days after the Abuja Division of the Court ruled in favor of Mr Okorie on another suit but with same issues.
Reacting, Lawyer to the PDP, Mudi Erhenede, hailed the court for the judgment.
He noted that with the judgment the earlier judgment issued by the Abuja Division of the court two days ago nullifying the congresses and primaries of the party have been vacated.
He said: “The essence of today’s judgment in which Mr Okorie urged the court to set aside the primaries of 28 and 29 and congresses of the party is that it has been dismissed by the court.
“When you have two judgments of courts of coordinate jurisdiction, the later judgment supercedes,” he argued.