Ben Ezechime, Enugu
Supporters of the Labour Party (LP) in Enugu State have reacted in jubilation over the judgment of the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, setting aside the ruling of Abuja High Court, which ordered a fresh gubernatorial primary.
The lower court ruled on a case brought by, Capt. Everest Nnaji challenging Edeoga’s candidacy.
The Labour Party, however, appealed the ruling, insisting that, Edeoga was the validly nominated candidate of the party in the state.
In its judgment, the Court of Appeal restored Edeoga as the authentic candidate of the Labour Party for the Enugu governorship race.
The Court of Appeal lambasted Justice Maha of the Federal High Court for going on a voyage of discovery.
The court wondered how Justice Maha could have arrived at such a strange decision given the fact that the Supreme Court had passed several judgments on the issue of who is an aspirant entitled to bring an action.
The court wondered why the lower court entertained Everest Nnaji’s suit at all, since it was obvious that he lacked the locus standi to even bring the action and deemed the action of the judge as an unwarranted interfere in the internal affairs of the Labour Party.
The Court of Appeal then ruled that even the respondent’s brief filed before it by Everest Nnaji’s lawyer was incompetent having been filed out of time.
The Court of Appeal adopted the four issues formulated by Barrister Alexander Obodo SAN, counsel to the Labour Party.
On the first issue, the court agreed with the submission of Alex Obodo SAN, that since Everest Nnaji did not participate in the primary election, he lacked the locus standi to challenge the outcome and that the lower court should have dismissed his suit.
Having held that Everest Nnaji lacked the standing to even bring the suit thereby robbing the court of jurisdiction, the Court of Appeal held that there was no need to waste their time in consideration of the other issues.
The Court therefore allowed the appeal, set aside the judgment of Justice Maha and affirmed Hon Chijioke Edeoga as the authentic candidate of the Labour Party for the Enugu State gubernatorial election.
In his reaction, Barrister Onuorah Odo, State Publicity Secretary of the party, said the victory of Edeoga is the beginning of victory of the party in the forthcoming election in the state.
“Congratulations to my principal, Hon. Barr. Jonathan Chijioke Edeoga on your victory.
“The judgment is a well considered judgment. It goes to show that there is still hope for Nigerian judiciary,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr Aniebo Nwamu, a Journalist, described the victory of Edeoga as well anticipated and well deserved.
“The Odengene distraction is over, we move,” he said.