INEC to comply with court ruling on Anambra PDP executives

A new twist has been added to the ongoing congress of the Peoples Democratic Party to choose its candidate for the November 6 Anambra governorship election as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it will comply with a High Court of Abuja judgement dismissing the sacking of the Anambra State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP’s) executives.

Also, two aspirants, Dr. Tony Nwoye and Emeka Atiaba (SAN), have announced the withdrawal of their participation from the governorship election currently going on in Awka, Anambra state.

PDP has said that it will use the three-man ad-hoc election result and directed the use of the automatic delegates system for the election of the governorship candidate.

The court on June 9, 2021 dismissed the applications filed by the national office of the PDP and two others.

But INEC, in a letter addressed to national chairman of the PDP dated Friday, June 25 said it had received the High Court judgement dismissing the sacking of the Anambra PDP executives.

The electoral commission in the letter signed by the Secretary to the Commission Rose Oriaran-Anthony told the PDP national chairman that it would comply with June 9 judgement.

INEC said: “The Commission has been served with the judgement of the High Court of the FCT delivered on 9th June, 2021 in suit No. FCT/HC/774/2012- Between Samuel Anyakorah vs PDP & ors regarding the Anambra State PDP executives.

” Consequent upon the above, the Commission wishes to intimate you on the need to comply with same.

“Accept the assurance of the Commission’s high regards, please.”

Justice Olukayode Adeniyi of the High Court sitting in Maitama Abuja, in a ruling held that the three applicants – the PDP, Chief Ndubisi Nwobu and Barr. Uchenna Obiora – failed to make out a case to warrant the grant of their application that sought to stay the judgment pending the determination of the appeal.

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Justice Adeniyi, who came down hard on the applicants for earlier denigrating the court in their reaction to the judgment, held that they did not show that the non-staying of the judgment would either render their appeals nugatory or make it impossible for the party to conduct its primary for the forthcoming governorship election.

The judge voided all the activities engaged in by the party since June 9 when the judgment was delivered, including the elections it conducted on June 10 and 11 to elect a three-man ad-hoc ward delegate that would participate in the voting at the primary of the PDP scheduled for June 26, 2021.

Justice Adeniyi said the statement made on June 9, by the State Publicity Secretary of the PDP Anambra in which he disparaged the court and its judgment was an affront to the court, adding that they do not expect a court they have insulted to grant them an indulgence.

He said: “The first applicant (the PDP), which is the principal party has maintained in the face of this court that its judgment is null and void for want of jurisdiction. The same party cannot at the same time seek equitable reliefs from the same court.

“A party that has no regard for the judgment of a court and described it in derogatory terms to the whole world, as shown in Exhibit C, cannot quietly return to the same court to seek equitable relief to stay the same judgment that it defied and defiled.

“An assessment of the totality of the circumstances that have been presented before me by the instant applications leads to only one conclusion, which is that the applicants do not have an iota of respect for the authority of this court, they issued a release to embolden their members not to reckon with the judgment of the court and followed it up by taking of definite contemptuous steps in disregard of the court’s judgment.

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“For them to come back with a motion for stay of execution and injunction pending the determination of their appeal, in my view, is a clear afterthought. I there say that no court worth its authority will grant any such application, no matter how well presented and argued,” Justice Adeniyi said.

The June 9 judgment, which they sought to stay was on a suit marked: HC/CV/774/2021 filed by Samuel Anyakolah (for himself and all local government chairmen and ward executives that emerged from the Anambra PDP congress conducted on November 28 and December 1, 2017 under the supervision of Sir Chukwudi Umeaba, as Acting Chairman State Caretaker Committee).

The judge agreed with the plaintiff/claimant that the PDP violated its constitution in the conduct of the Southeast zonal congress of March March 6, 2021 and the appointments made therein.

He declared among others, that “all congresses, designations or appointments made by the first defendant (the PDP), with respect to the positions of the state chairman, EXCO members and local government chairmen, as contained in pages 14,15 and 16 of the Southeast zonal congress brochure of 6th March 2021 are hereby nullified and set aside.”

The judge ordered the PDP to henceforth, recognise and adopt only the list of the already inaugurated party officers and delegates that emerged from the Anambra PDP congresses conducted on November 28, 2017 and December 1, 2017 validated by Senator Grace Bent Ward Congress Appeal Panel report and Barrister Ukpai Ukairo Local Government Appeal Panel report, under the supervision of Sir Chukwudi Umeaba, who shall continue to act in the capacities for which they were duly elected.

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