Supreme Court declares Ifeanyi Odii as PDP governorship candidate for Ebonyi

Supreme Court declares Ifeanyi Odii as PDP governorship candidate for Ebonyi

By Taiye Agbaje, Abuja.

 

The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, declared Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii as the validly elected candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2023 Ebonyi State governorship election.

 

Justice Lawal Garba, in a lead judgment of a five-member panel, held that Sen. Joseph Obinna Ogba, who represents Ebonyi Central Senatorial Zone, did not have the legal right to have filed an appeal in the court below.

 

He said the Court of Appeal in Abuja lacked the jurisdiction to have entertained the suit in the first instance, since Ogba was not a party in the entire proceedings conducted by the trial court (the Federal High Court in Abakaliki).

 

The judge said that the entire proceedings conducted by the appellate court was found to be without jurisdiction, describing it as an exercise in futility.

 

“You cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand; it will definitely collapse,” Garba said.

 

The judge, therefore, said that the court found merit in the appeal filed by Odii and, thereby, upheld it.

 

Garba consequently set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal that was delivered on June 19, while declaring Ogba as the validly elected candidate of the party.

 

He also said that the appeal filed by Ogba, the 1st Respondent, before the appellate court was done without any legal backing.

 

Justice Amina Augie and other justices in the panel also backed Garba’s judgment, describing the decision as meritorious.

 

Odii and Ogba were engaged in a legal battle over who was validly elected as the party’s candidate for the 2023 poll in the party’s primaries that took place at different occasions in the state.

 

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja recently declared Ogba as the governorship candidate of the party in the state, while setting aside the judgment of the Federal High Court in Abakaliki that pronounced Odii as PDP candidate.

 

However, Odii displeased with the court decision, filed an appeal marked: SC/CV/ 939/2022 at the Supreme Court.

 

In the suit, Ogba, PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents.

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