By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, on Thursday, reserved judgment on a suit seeking to sack Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State from office.
The appeal marked CA/A/157/2015 was lodged before the appellate court by a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state, Senator Anyogu Eze.
Eze is praying the appellate court to remove Ugwuanyi from office on the premise that he was not validly nominated by the PDP to contest the April 11, 2015, governorship election.
He insisted that Ugwuanyi emerged from a kangaroo primary election he said was conducted on December 8 by some leaders of the party.
The appellant, through his lead counsel, Mr. Adebayo Adelodun, SAN, told the court that Ugwuanyi was merely handpicked by some persons at the National Headquarters of the party in Abuja, alleging that the purported primary election was organised with fake list of delegates.
He maintained that the primary poll that produced Ugwuanyi was in breach of section 87(4)(b)(I) of the Electoral Act, saying it was done with total disregard to the electoral guidelines for primary elections 2014 of the PDP and its constitution.
The appellant further alleged that Enugu State Electoral Panel of the PDP, in breach of a subsisting court judgment, discarded a list of duly elected delegates approved by a court of competent jurisdiction, and brought out a totally different list of delegates which they claimed was handed over to them by the leadership of the party.
He told the court that no valid gubernatorial primary election of the PDP that Ugwuanyi participated in, took place in Enugu State on December 8, as no votes or results could have been recorded from the flawed delegates list.
Eze who is laying claim to the PDP governorship ticket in Enugu State having merged through a parallel primary election, prayed the court to set aside the judgment of Justice Evoh Chukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja which dismissed his suit on March 2, 2015.
He prayed the court to not only okay the parallel primary election that produced him, but to also declare him as the authentic governorship candidate of the party in Enugu State.
Meantime, Governor Ugwuanyi, through his lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, urged the appellate court to dismiss the pre-election case which he said was bereft of merit.
Ugwuanyi equally filed an appeal marked CA/A/157b/2015, wherein he challenged validity of the parallel primary election that produced Eze.
He argued that Eze lacked the locus-standi to query his ticket since he did not participate in the primary conducted by the National Working Committee of the PDP.
He told the appellate court that Eze walked out on the committee and refused to participate in the primary.
Ugwuanyi further exhibited result of the primary he said was sanctioned by the NWC of the party.
The document contained names of all the governorship aspirants, including Eze.
His lawyer, Olanipekun, SAN, explained to the court that though the document contained Eze’s name, he said no result was credited to him considering that he boycotted the process alongside another aspirant, Dr. Samuel Maduka Onyishi, who is the owner of Peace Mass Transit Limited.
Similarly, the PDP, through its lawyer, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, also sought the dismissal of Eze’s appeal.
The party, via an appeal marked CA/A/157a/2015, maintained that the high court ab-initio lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the case which it said borders on internal affair of a political party.
After listening to all the parties in Thursday, a three-man panel of Justices of the appellate court led by Justice Tinuade Akomolafe-Wilson reserved its judgment on the matter.
The court said the judgment date would be communicated to all the parties.