Legal tussles rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over its disputed party primary for the Anambra Governorship Election slated for November 6, this year, appear to be nearing an end following a Court of Appeal ruling, Friday, in Abuja nullifying an earlier judgment by the Abuja High Court which had sacked the Nwobu-led Executive Committee of the party’s Ananbra State chapter.
The appellant court led by Justice Stephen Adah upheld the appeals filed against the judgment of the lower court.
The court, in a ruling, Friday reinstated Mr Ndubuisi Nwobu as the chairman of the party in the state, along with his executive committee members.
It would be recalled that following a suit filed by one of the factions of the PDP in Anambra the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) opted to delist candidates of two of the factions from the November 6 governorship poll; Ugochukwu Uba and valentine Ozigbo, on the grounds of pending litigations within the party.
The appeal was against the judgment of Justice Adeniyi of FCT High Court delivered on the June 9, 2021 wherein the court, against the earlier and subsisting judgment of Justice Musa of the same FCT High Court, recognised Samuel Anyakorah and his group as the valid executive committee of the party in Anambra state.
In Friday’s ruling, the three-man panel of Justices led by Justice Ada upturned the decision of Justice Adeniyi, for, among other reasons, the lack of territorial jurisdiction to hear and determine a matter which cause of action arose in Anambra State, that is beyond the territorial boundaries of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The legal tussle has already take its toll on the party as not only has INEC temporarily delisted the PDP from the November 6 governorship election, one of the aspirants who vied for ticket at its June 26 primary, Obiora Okonkwo, has resigned his membership of the party.
Okonkwo, an influential member of the party, who is the Chairman of United Nigeria Airlines (UNA), in his resignation letter addressed to the National Chairman of PDP and dated July 24, blamed the litany of court cases against the party as reason for his action.
It would recalled that the conduct of the PDP primary in Anambra State has been trailed by a barrage of court rulings as two factions within the party seek to get the nod of INEC for the November 6 poll.
While one faction which had Okonkwo as one of the 16 aspirants and supposedly the INEC and PDP-recognised platform produced Valentine Ozigbo as its candidate, the other saw Ugochukwu Uba emerge as its representative.
Following a court ruling, INEC was compelled to remove the PDP from the ballot ahead of the November 6 poll.
Reacting to the Friday ruling by the Appeal Court the Valentine Ozigbo Campaign Organisation hailed the ruling of the appellant court of Abuja Division, insisting the ‘PDP is on the side of justice and that justice will prevail in the other matters before the courts.’
A statement signed by Aziza Uko, the Media Advisor of the VCO Campaign Organisation read: “This ruling gives us comfort that our party, the PDP is on the side of justice and that justice will prevail in the other matters before the courts with regards to the candidacy of Valentine Ozigbo and the primary conducted by the National Working Committee of our party.
“Valentine Ozigbo is grateful for all the support and encouragement, and goodwill he has received since he won the primary, especially from people of Anambra State, PDP Governors, and the leadership of the party at ward, local government, state and national levels.
“We are resolute in our resolve to actualise our grand vision to rescue Ndi Anambra from the abysmal All Grand Progressives Alliance (APGA) government come November.
“PDP remains the only platform positioned to take power from APGA and we are confident that soon all litigations will be left in the past and we will march in our quest to deliver positive transformation to the people of Anambra.”
Also reacting to th Appeal court ruling, the PDP in an earlier statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan said this judgment that has just been set aside is the ‘superstructure’ on which the Justice O. A. Nwabunike judgment pending before the Court of Appeal in Awka Division is based on.
It would also be recalled that in the judgment delivered on July 19, 2021, Nwabunike had ruled that Ugochukwu Uba was the governorship candidate of the PDP and had ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to publish the former senator’s name.
The matter is before the Court of Appeal, Awka Division where the PDP had earlier in July accused Justice Nwabunike of ‘disappearing’ with the case file of his judgment which has prevented the party from filing an appeal.