Supreme Court upholds Odii as Ebonyi PDP governorship candidate

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The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, affirmed the election of Chukwuma Odii Ifeanyi as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ebonyi State for the 2023 governorship election.

Uba Group

The apex court had on Wednesday morning fixed 3pm for the judgement after listening to addresses by counsels to the parties in the dispute.

In its judgment, the five-member panel of the apex court headed by Justice Amina Augie, unanimously upheld the appeal filed by Ifeanyi.

The panel held that the appeal marked SC/CV/ 939/2022, which Odii Ifeanyi lodged before the apex court, was meritorious and deserved to succeed.

The court therefore set aside the July 19 judgment of the Court of Appeal, which ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to recognize Senator Joseph Obinna Ogba as flag-bearer of the party for the 2023 gubernatorial contest in the state.

The apex court restored the judgment of the Federal High Court delivered on June 7, 2022, which the Court of Appeal had set aside in its July 19 judgment.

The court held that the Court of Appeal was without jurisdiction to have heard the appeal filed by Ogba, because the notice of appeal filed by Ogba on June 17, 2022 was incompetent because he failed to first obtain the leave of court to appeal as an interested party.

The apex court further held that the incompetence of Ogba’s notice of appeal robbed the Court of Appeal the requisite jurisdiction, and as such, all the proceedings conducted amounted to a nullity, including the order made in the July 19 judgment setting aside the June 7 judgment of the Federal High Court, which had upheld Odii Ifeanyi’s nomination.

The apex court also struck out the cross-appeal filed by Ogba.