The Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed the suit seeking to remove lawmakers representing Anambra State at both the state and National Assemblies, including former Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah and Andy Ubah, from office.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola, in his ruling on Friday dismissed the suit brought by Annie Okonkwo, a one-time senator, and Chris Ubah, younger brother to Andy Ubah, and 42 others for lacking in merit.
The court ruled that the claim of the plaintiffs that they are the rightfully nominated candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state could not stand in the face of law since they emerged from an illegal process.
The court said that the power to nominate candidates and submit names to INEC is vested in the National Executive Council, NEC, of any political party.
Justice Ademola said in the instant case, the plaintiffs, having emerged from a primary election conducted by the State Executive Committee of the party submitted themselves to an act of illegality and as such cannot seek legal backing to such nomination.
He made reference to the Supreme Court judgment of January 29 and the ruling of the Court on February 24, 2016, where it was effectively stated that the state organ of the party has no power under the party’s constitution and Electoral Act to nominate candidate for the purpose of a general election.
He said the Supreme Court has made clarification through its judgment and “that judgment is binding and must be obeyed by persons and statutory bodies.”
“It is settled in law that a state Exco of a political party lacked power to nominate candidate for election. It’s only election organised by National Executive Committee (NEC) that is validly empowered by law to submit to INEC names of candidate for the purpose of election and no other organ of the party.”
Before the 2015 general election, the PDP in Anambra State was rocked by internal crisis which resulted in the party dividing into two factions; one led by one Ejike Oguebego and the other by Ken Emeakayi, with both factions holding parallel primary elections and having different candidates for the State and National assembly elections.
But long after the elections, on January 29, 2016, the Supreme Court affirmed the chairmanship of Oguebego as the authentic State Chairman of the party in the State, declaring the list of candidates submitted by the Emekayi faction – which was supported by the Party’s NEC and recognized by INEC during the general election – illegal.
Oguebego and his faction therefore wanted the court to order INEC to cede the certificates of return issued the Emeakayi-faction to them as the authentic faction of the PDP in Anambra State, but the court dismissed their plea on the grounds that a state party exco has no power to present candidates for election.