Anambra poll: Ozigbo Was Declared PDP candidate By Appeal Court

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The Court of Appeal in Abuja has declared Valentine Ozigbo as the legally accepted of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State

A three-member panel, presided over by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, unanimously upheld the two appeals filed by Ozigbo and the PDP (CA/AW/223/2021 and CA/AW/234/2021)

The appellate court, in two judgements delivered on Friday, set aside the July 19, 2021 judgment by Justice A.O. Nwabunike of the Anambra State High Court sitting at Awka, declaring Senator Ugochukwu Uba as the authentic candidate of the PDP in the governorship election coming up in Anambra in November.

PDP had argued in its appeal that it conducted the Anambra governorship primary on June 26 at the Professor Dora Akunyuli Women Center in accordance with the provisions of the law and its guidelines, while Ozigbo claimed, in his appeal, that he won the primary election and was duly nominated as the candidate of the PDP for the forthcoming governorship election.

The appellate court, in its judgment on Friday found that the primary conducted by the PDP at the Professor Dora Akunyuli Women Center was duly conducted in accordance with the relevant laws.

It held that the purported parallel primary held at Saint Paul University Centre was null and void.

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The Court of Appeal awarded N10million cost against Uba in each of the two appeals, bring the total cost awarded against him to N20m

The appellate court came down hard on Justice Nwabunike for sitting on appeal over and adopting an earlier judgment by Justice Olukayode Adeniyi of the High Court of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), which the Court of Appeal, Abuja had voided on grounds of lack of jurisdiction in a separate case.

Justice Adeniyi had, in his judgement of June 9, 2021 sacked the PDP leadership in Anambra State and ordered the Chukwudi Umeaba faction of the party to conduct the June 26 primary, which eventually produced Uba,

Justice Nwabunike, in his July 19 judgment, adopted Justice Adeniyi’s decision and recognised the Umeaba- faction as constituting the authentic leadership of the PDP in Anambra State to conduct primary for the November 6 governorship election.

Justice Dongban-Mensem, in the lead judgment on Friday, said: “We have facts before us that the appellant (PDP) took all necessary steps to ensure the primary was conducted in accordance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, the Electoral Act and the party’s (PDP’s) constitution.

“The judgment by Justice Nwabunike, delivered on July 19, which was strangely based on the decision of a court of coordinate jurisdiction, which decision had earlier been set aside by this court, is a nullity and of no legal effect,

“We hereby declare that Valentine Ezigbo is the validly elected candidate of the PDP for the next governorship election in Anambra State.

“He remains the validly nominated candidate of the party in the next governorship election in Anambra State,” the President of the Court of Appeal said.

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