November 5, 2023

Appeal Court affirms election of Chinedu as Imo PDP Rep

Appeal Court affirms election of Chinedu as Imo PDP Rep

By Innocent Anaba

The Imo State Election Petitions Appeal Court panel sitting in Lagos, has affirmed the victory of Emeka Chinedu of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP as the winner of the House of Representatives election for Ahiazu Mbaise/Ezinihitte Federal Constituency election, Imo State.

It also declared that the venue of the PDP primaries in the state was valid.

In their ruling, the Appeal Court Justices led by Justice Georgewill, agreed with the findings of the lower tribunal and struck out the appeals by Nnanna Igbokwe of All Progressive Congress, APC, and Labour Party, LP, candidate, Darlington Amaechi as lacking in merit.

The court held that the issues canvassed were not proved.

The judgment also resolved the issue of the venue of PDP primaries, which is purely a pre-election issue that the Appeal Court lacked jurisdiction to entertain and was the basis upon which the APC and LP challenged the election of Chinedu.

Recall that on September 7, 2023, the tribunal for National and State Assembly for Imo State, which sat in Nassarawa State, declared Chinedu the rightful winner of the election for Ahiazu /Ezinifitte Mbaise Federal Constituency Seat.

It also determined that other political parties lacked the authority or locus standi to interfere in the internal affairs of their opposing party and that the issues of venue of primaries were purely pre-election issues which the tribunal lacks the powers and jurisdiction to dabble into.

The arguments of citing another judgment delivered on PDP primaries by Supreme Court, the court held, had no connection or relationship with the eligibility of the respondents as the same Supreme Court have earlier affirmed the issue of the primary election of Chinedu and no other judgment can be imported to affect the legitimacy of his emergence plus the fact that the issues were now pre-election issues which the Tribunal lacks jurisdiction to entertain.

The issue of PDP primaries venue had been considered by the High Court, Appeal Court, and Supreme Court respectively, with Chinedu emerging victorious at all times, and Igbokwe of APC being deemed an interloper, who was attempting to interfere in the internal affairs of the PDP.

Chinedu and Ikeagwuonu Ugochinyere (Ikenga) representing Ideato North and South Federal Constituency of Imo State had their PDP primary election at same venue before the election.

The Federal High Court, Appeal and Supreme Courts also in a unanimous judgment affirmed Ugochinyere’s primary emergence and declared him eligible to contest the election, hence making any challenge against his emergence on the issue of pre-election venue of primary baseless.

Surprisingly, the first tribunal gave a conflicting judgment, which voided Ugochinyere’s election in a petition by a candidate, who came 3rd, got only 2000 votes, and got only one polling unit out of 346 polling unit.

The candidate who had challenged Ugochinyere’s venue of primary at the Federal High Court and lost, including his LP counterpart, whose court case against Ugochinyere’s election was also dismissed.
Reacting, the Centre for Judicial Integrity Watch hailed the Appeal Court judgment as a victory for democracy because the venue of PDP primaries and sponsorship were clear issues that Tribunal lacks jurisdiction to entertain.

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