Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Supreme Court dismisses Ogba, affirms Odii as Ebonyi  PDP candidate

Justice Lawal Garba, in a lead judgment held that Senator Obinna Ogba lacked legal right to have filed an appeal in the court below.

• September 14, 2022
Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii and Senator Obinna Ogba
Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii and Senator Obinna Ogba

The Supreme Court declared Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii as the validly elected candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2023 Ebonyi governorship election.

Justice Lawal Garba, in a lead judgment of a five-member panel, on Wednesday, held that Senator Obinna Ogba, who represents Ebonyi Central Senatorial Zone, lacked legal right to have filed an appeal in the court below.

He said the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal lacked the jurisdiction to have entertained the suit in the first instance since Mr Ogba was not a party in the entire proceedings conducted by the trial court (a Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki).

The judge said that 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,” Mr Garba said.

The judge, therefore, said he found merit in the appeal filed by Mr Odii and was hereby upheld.

Mr Garba consequently set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered on June 19, declaring Mr Ogba as the validly elected candidate of the party.

He also said that the appeal filed by Mr Ogba, the 1st respondent, before the appellant court was done without legal backing.

Justice Amina Augie and other justices in the panel also backed Mr Garba’s judgment, describing the decision as meritorious.

Messrs Odii and Ogba were engaged in a legal battle over who was validly elected as the party’s candidate for the 2023 poll in the party’s primaries that took place at different occasions in the state.

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja had, recently, declared Mr Ogba as the governorship candidate of the party in the state, while setting aside the judgment of the trial court sitting in Abakaliki that pronounced Mr Odii as PDP candidate.

But Mr Odii, unsatisfied with the court decision, filed an appeal marked: SC/CV/ 939/2022 at the apex court.

In the suit, Mr Odii sued Mr Ogba, PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as 1st to 3rd respondent.

(NAN)

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