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Supreme Court declares Odii as Ebonyi PDP candidate

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THE Supreme Court of Nigeria today declared Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii as the legitimate gubernatorial candidate for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Ebonyi State in the 2023 general elections.

Justice Lawal Garba, leading a five-man panel, set aside the judgment of the Appeal Court, which declared a senator representing the Ebonyi Central senatorial district, Obinna Ogba, as the party’s candidate.

The court held that the Appeal court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit filed by Ogba, as he was not a party to the proceedings at the trial court in Ebonyi.

“You cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand; it will definitely collapse,” Garba said.

Other justices in the panel backed the ruling in favour of Odii, describing it as “meritorious.”

A legal dispute had ensued between Odii and Ogba over the party’s governorship primary in Ebonyi State.

The dispute resulted from the conduct of two different primary elections by the party in the state.

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In an initial exercise conducted in May, Odii had emerged as the party’s candidate, while Ogba won in a fresh election carried out by the PDP in June.

In July, a High Court sitting in Abakiliki had declared the rescheduled elections as invalid and ruled in favour of Odii.

However, the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja upturned the ruling and declared Ogba as the legitimate candidate of the party.

Odii had further an filed an appeal at the Supreme Court.

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Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via vopara@icirnigeria.org or @ije_le on Twitter.

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