Court voids Ebonyi PDP Chairman’s election

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has voided the election of Tochukwu Okorie as chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ebonyi State.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed, in a judgment on Wednesday, held that Okorie was not validly nominated to contest the election held on October 16, 2021.

Justice Mohammed, in the judgment on a suit by Silas Onu, held that Okorie acted in contravention of the guidelines for the election when he submitted his nomination form outside the prescribed period.

The judge noted that Okorie was indolent in submitting his nomination form and could not be allowed to benefit from his wrongdoing.

Justice Mohammed held that the second defendant (Okorie) was not validly nominated having submitted his nomination form on October 4, 2021 as against the October 1, 2021 allowed under the guidelines for the conduct of congresses.

The judge added that having acted outside the election guidelines, Okorie was not qualified to have contested in the said election held on October 16, 2021.

He said: “It is the opinion of this court that the 2nd defendant, who was indolent in submitting his nomination form as provided in the guidelines issued by the PDP, who in spite of this failure, was still declared and returned elected, cannot be allowed to benefit from his wrong doing.”

The judge then directed the PDP to accept Onu as the only lawfully nominated candidate to participate in the election and issue him a certificate of return as the duly elected Chairman of the PDP in Ebonyi State.

Justice Mohammed declared that Okorie was not qualified to participate in the election for failing and refusing to submit his nomination form on or before the fixed deadline of October 1, 2021.

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He further declared that Okorie’s participation in the said election was contrary to the clear and unambiguous schedule for the conduct of state congresses, therefore rendering such participation null and void.

Earlier, the judge dismissed the preliminary objection filed by the PDP where it alleged that Onu did not exhaust the internal mechanisms available for resolving such party matters before heading to court.

The judge also said that the application failed because the PDP was silent on when Okorie submitted his nomination form.

He said that he found the defendant’s failure to deny the allegation of the plaintiff that Okorie submitted his nomination form on Oct. 4 instead of Oct. 1, 2021 as admittance of wrong doing.

The judge added: “The consequence is that the 2nd defendant’s nomination form submitted on Oct. 4, 2021 instead of Oct. 1, 2021 was submitted out of time.”

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