The court of appeal in Abuja has declared Valentine Ozigbo as the validly nominated candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the forthcoming Anambra state governorship election.
A three-member panel, led by Monica Dongban-Mensem, president of the court of appeal, unanimously upheld the two appeals filed by Ozigbo and the PDP (CA/AW/223/2021 and CA/AW/234/2021).
INEC had excluded the PDP from the list of cleared candidates, which was released on July 16.
The electoral body said its decision not to list the name of any PDP candidate was in recognition of court orders served in relation to the primary election of the party.
Ozigbo and Ugochukwu Uba had emerged as the PDP’s governorship candidates from parallel primary elections.
Uba had approached the Anambra state high court in suit number A/230/2021 to determine if the primary election conducted by the national executive of the PDP at Dora Akunyili Women’s Development Centre on June 26 was done according to the law.
He asked the court to determine whether an Abuja high court order on a suit by one Samuel Anyakorah against the PDP, bordering on the validity of the process that produced Ndubuisi Nwobu, the party’s factional state chairman, had been set aside or stayed.
He also prayed the court to determine if the process of the primary, which produced Ozigbo through ”super delegates”, was in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act, which states that primary elections will be done through delegates’ congress.
In his ruling, Obiora Nwabunike said the court order, which restrained the PDP from conducting the primary election, had neither been stayed nor set aside.
He said the PDP erred by not clearing every legal huddle before the primary election, hence the process was in defiance of the law.
The court, therefore, resolved that the primary election, which produced Uba at Paul University’s complex on June 26 was lawful and in accordance with the electoral guidelines. The judge also awarded N10 million in Uba’s favour as cost of litigation.
However, delivering judgment in Ozigbo’s appeal, the appellate court, set aside the July 19, 2021 judgment by Nwabunike and recognised the governorship primary election which produced Ozigbo.
The court awarded N10 million as cost against Uba.
The court also ordered INEC to immediately publish Ozigbo’s name as the candidate of the PDP.