A High Court of Anambra State sitting in Awka the state capital has on Tuesday 6th July 2021 barred the factional candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 6th November 2021 governorship election, Valentine Ozigbo from parading himself as the PDP candidate.
An order issued by the honourable Justice Obiora Nwabunike in suit no. A/230/2021 SENATOR UBA VS INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION & 2 ORS at the instance of Counsel to Uba, Emeka Nwankwo, Esq, also prohibits the PDP from presenting Ozigbo and prohibits INEC from accepting Ozigbo as candidate of the PDP until the final determination of the suit brought by Uba to nullify the parallel congress held at the Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre, Awka at which Ozigbo emerged winner with 62 votes. Uba claims that the Congress at which Ozigbo emerged was conveyed in disobedience to the judgment of an Abuja High Court, in violation of section 87 of the Electoral Act, sections 25 and 50 of the PDP Constitution and directive of INEC dated 22nd June 2021 which mandated PDP to comply with the Abuja High Court order issued by the honourable Justice AO Adeniyi.
Uba further claims that the primary election conducted at the Anambra State Congress held at Saint Paul University Awka at which Uba emerged winner and PDP governorship candidate with 275 votes was the proper party primary election in full obedience to the judgment of an Abuja High Court, compliance with section 87 of the Electoral Act, sections 25 and 50 of the PDP Constitution and directive of INEC dated 22nd June 2021 which mandated PDP to comply with the Abuja High Court order issued by the honourable Justice AO Adeniyi.
In the 7 paragraph, 3 page order signed by Justice O.A. Nwabunike and certified by Okeke T.A., Deputy Director, Awka Division of the Anambra State High Court, the judge at paragraph prohibits the three Defendants: INEC, PDP and Ozigbo as follows:
” The Defendants are hereby ordered and directed to await the determination or outcome of this suit and restrained from presenting, receiving, parading, or accepting any person as the Governorship candidate of the 2nd Defendant’s party [PDP] for the Governorship election fixed for the 6th November 2021 to elect Governor of Anambra State”
The court adjourned hearing of the main suit to 12th July, 2021
Given the contentious nature of the the PDP primaries, and the litigation preceding the State Congress, analysts had predicted a slew of litigation to determine the outcome of the primary election. The PDP has not disappointed.
It would be recalled that the first salvo of litigation in the wake of the primary elections which held on Saturday 26th June 2021was launched on Monday 5th July 2021at the Court of Appeal, Abuja by the Ozigbo faction which in CA/ABJ/359/2021 PDP VS ANYAKORAH & ORS had sought to bar Uba from enjoying the fruits of the State Congress which endorsed his candidature. But this attempt was a double failure as the two motions brought to stay the judgment of the High Court were decried by the appellate court as totally bereft of merit and logic, forcing the PDP’s Counsel, Othai Otokpa, Esq, to withdraw the doomed applications which were immediately struck out by the Appellate Court.
By the Order of the High Court in Awka dated- Tuesday, 6th July, 2021, the court has given life to the nomination of Senator. Dr. Ugochukwu Uba as the authentic Anambra State PDP Governorship Candidate as PDP is bound to stop parading MR. VALENTINE OZIGBO as the Anambra State PDP Candidate. Unless a contrary order issues at the end of the hearing slated for next week, PDP would have no option but to rally behind Uba, its former Senator for Anambra South in 2003 to 2007.
It would be recalled that the three largest political parties in Anambra State, PDP, APGA and APC held dueling and controversial primaries which produced parallel candidates. While the APC and APGA have so far eschewed the courts and are resolving their differences through their National Working Committees, it appears the litigious PDP has taken to the courts with the national leadership firing the first shots which missed and Uba has replied in similar fashion, albeit successfully.
Analysts predict that unless litigation is resolved in a timely way or the PDP comes to a compromise, valuable time may be lost ahead of the election.