HomePoliticsPoliticsSuit Against Ebonyi PDP Guber Candidate Dismissed By Court

Suit Against Ebonyi PDP Guber Candidate Dismissed By Court

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The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Wednesday dismissed a fresh appeal challenging the nomination of Chief Chukwuma Odi Ifeanyi as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Ebonyi State in next month’s governorship election.

The appellate court struck out the suit filed by Okoroafor Tochukwu Okorie on the ground that it constituted a gross abuse of the court process.

Justice Adebukola Banjoko, who read the unanimous judgment of the appellate court affirmed that a five million naira fine is imposed on the appellant’s lawyer for engaging in court abuse.

Okorie had dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and PDP before the Court of Appeal challenging the nomination of Ifeanyi and the setting aside of a default judgment he secured at the Federal High Court in Abakaliki.

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Justice Fatun Riman of the Federal High Court in Abakaliki, had on February 1, 2023, in suit number FHC/ABJ/ CS/1696/2022, filed by Okorie against INEC and PDP, set aside an earlier decision of the same court which was granted in favour of the plaintiff.

Justice Riman set aside all reliefs granted in favour of Okorie upon becoming aware that the plaintiff (Okorie) grossly suppressed material fact, especially the final judgment of the Supreme Court on the same subject matter to secure the default judgment.

Dissatisfied with the setting aside of the judgment, Okorie had approached the Appellate Court in Abuja praying that all the reliefs granted him by the federal court in Abakaliki be restored to him.

His request was however, vehemently opposed by the PDP through its counsel, Chris Uche, SAN, who informed the court that the Supreme Court had in its judgment last year settled all issues relating to the nomination of the PDP governorship candidate in Ebonyi State.

Specifically, the senior lawyer informed the Court of Appeal that the apex court affirmed Chukwuma Ifeanyi as the governorship candidate.

Uche also told the appellate court that the Federal High Court in Abakaliki reversed the default judgment in line with the provisions of the law on suppression of fact and pleaded with the Court of Appeal to dismiss the case of the appellant.

In her judgment, Justice Banjoko agreed with the PDP counsel regarding the appellant’s gross abuse of court with multiple cases over the same subject matter.

The Appeal Court justice, specifically held that the fresh case by Okorie was an affront to the final decision of the Supreme Court on the Ebonyi PDP governorship ticket tussle.

The appellate court thereafter dismissed the appeal and affirmed the imposition of a five million naira fine on the counsel to the appellant.

The Supreme Court had on September 14, 2022, in a judgment in an appeal marked, SC/CV/939/2022, affirmed Chukwuma Ifeanyi as the lawful governorship candidate of the PDP having emerged from a primary election conducted by the National Working Committee of the PDP.

The apex court had struck out the appeal on the grounds that the issue of nomination of candidates for election is a domestic affair of political parties.

Reacting to the latest judgment, Uche admonished lawyers to always counsel their clients against engaging in the abuse of the court process.

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