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Jubilation erupted yesterday, in many locations in Ebonyi State following the Supreme Court declaration of Ifeanyi Odii, also known as Anyichuks, as the authentic gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2023 general election in the state.
Odii had won the governorship election of the party conducted at the state secretariat of the party on May 29, 2022.
But the party, in a shocking statement, cancelled the exercise and ordered a fresh election which produced Obinna Ogba (Ebonyi Central).
Angered by the cancellation, Odii proceeded to the Federal High Court, Abakaliki to seek redress.
The Federal High Court in its ruling in June, faulted the purported cancellation of the election and also annulled the election that produced Ogba.
The matter later moved from the Federal High Court, Abakaliki to the Appeal Court, and finally to the Supreme Court where Odii’s candidature was affirmed.
Justice Lawal Garba, in a lead judgment of a five-member panel, held that Ogba, who represents Ebonyi Central senatorial zone, lacked legal right to have filed an appeal in the court below.
He said the Abuja Court of Appeal 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 (a Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki).
The judge said the entire proceedings conducted by the appellant court was found to be without jurisdiction. He described 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 he found merit in the appeal filed by Odii and was hereby upheld.
Garba consequently set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered on June 19, declaring Ogba as the validly elected candidate of the party.
He also said the appeal filed by Ogba, the 1st respondent, before the appellant court was done without legal backing.
Justice Amina Augie and other justices in the panel also backed Garba’s judgment, describing the decision as meritorious.