Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki, Wednesday set aside the judgement of Justice Binta Nyako of the Abuja division of the Court, which nullified the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, primaries of 28th and 29th May 2022 in Ebonyi State.
The primaries, it was gathered produced Dr Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii and other Candidates of the party in the State.
Recall that Justice Nyako had on December 8, 2022, nullified the primaries and directed the party to conduct a fresh one within 14 days.
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Nyako’s judgement followed a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1319/2021 by Mr Okoroafor Tochukwu Okorie against the PDP and INEC.
The Court agreed with the Counsel to the PDP, that the Plaintiff, Mr Okorie, that the 28th and 29th PDP primaries that produced Chief Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii and other PDP candidates were conducted in flagrant disobedience of the order of the Court of Appeal, staying the execution of the judgement of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, which had declared Joseph Silas Onu as the Ebonyi State Chairman of the Party.
Not satisfied with Justice Nyako’s judgement, the PDP had filed a motion to set aside the judgement on the ground that it was obtained by fraud.
The matter with Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/1696/2022 was subsequently transferred by the Chief Justice of the Federal High Court to the Abakaliki division of the court following Justice Nyako’s recusal from the matter, over an allegation of being biased.
Delivering judgement on the matter on Wednesday, Justice Fatun Rima of the Abakaliki division of the Court, agreed with the Counsel to the PDP, Barrister Michael Inya Igbo, that the judgement by an Abuja division of the Court nullifying the 28th and 29th PDP primaries in Ebonyi State was obtained by trick by the Plaintiff, Mr Okorie, and consequently set it aside.
The Court also agreed with the PDP Counsel that if Justice Nyako was made to be aware of the facts and circumstances of the matter, he wouldn’t have given the judgement in the first place.
The Court further agreed with Barrister Inya Igbo that once a Supreme Court has made a pronouncement on an issue, you cannot by any trick bring back the matter again to a lower court for adjudication.
The PDP Counsel said: “The PDP had filed a motion to set aside the judgement of Justice Binta Nyako on the ground that it was obtained by fraud. Yesterday, we took an argument and the Court in its Wisdom agreed with us that once a Supreme Court has made a pronouncement on an issue, you cannot by any trick bring back the matter again to a lower court for adjudication.
“The Court also agreed with us that if Justice Nyako was made to be aware of the facts and circumstances of the matter, he wouldn’t have given judgement in the first place. So, that’s basis upon which that judgement was set aside today.
On why the matter was transferred to the Abakaliki division of the Court from Abuja Federal High Court, Mr Inya Igbo said: “The Plaintiff, Mr Tochukwu Okorie, accused Justice Nyako of being biased. Sequel to this, she now recused herself from the matter and sent the file back to the Chief Justice of the Federal High Court for reassignment.
“The CJ probably would have looked into the matter and saw that the issues leading to the matter emanated from Ebonyi State and sent back to Court here in Ebonyi to determine. You know there is a directive that any pre-election matter should be commenced and handled in the State where those issues arose. This is to forestall a situation where courts of different jurisdictions in the country will be giving conflicting judgements on the same subject matter.
“The implication of this judgement is that the primaries conducted by the PDP in Ebonyi on the 28th and 29th of May, 2022, are valid and subsisting. And that Chief Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii and other candidates who emerged from that primaries are the valid candidates of the PDP in the 2023 general elections.”
Reacting, Abia Onyike, Director, Media and Publicity, ANYI G’EMEYA Campaign Organisation described the judgment as “a vindication of our just cause.”
“The judgement is a vindication of our just cause. It has put paid to the activities of meddlesome Interlopers. Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii remains the authentic Governorship candidate of PDP in Ebonyi state. And all the Candidates of PDP in Ebonyi have been restored. Justice has been done.”