A Federal High Court in Abuja Friday upheld the candidacy of former Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, Senator Andy Ubah and others for last year’s national and state legislative election in Anambra State.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola, in a judgment Friday, held that the list of candidates, containing the name of Oduah, Andy Ubah and others, submitted to the Independent National Executive Committee (NEC) of the People’s Democratic Party was the authentic list of candidates.
The judgment was on a suit by Senator Annie Okonkwo, Chukwunedum Chris Ubah and 42 others, who were listed as candidates in the list submitted to INEC by the Abia State Executive Committee of the PDP.
The plaintiffs had among others, challenged the decision of INEC to substitute their names earlier published on INEC’s website prior to the election with those contained in the list submitted to it by the party’s NEC.
They urged the court to void INEC’s decision to replace their names with those of Oduah, Andy Ubah and others.
In his judgment Friday, Justice Ademola resolved the four issues he identified for determination against the plaintiff.
The judge faulted the plaintiffs’ contention that INEC having published their names first, it could not replace them with a list of other people without a valid order of court.
Justice Ademola said the mere publication of the plaintiffs’ names on INEC’s website was without any legal consequences and did not qualify them to be regarded as the authentic candidates of the party.
“The state Executive of a party or any organ of the party at the state level lacks the power to sponsor candidates. It is only the primary election conducted by the National Executive or their delegates that can validly conduct primary to produce its candidates.
“The 1st to 44 plaintiffs were not the through candidates of the 17the defendant (PDP), but products of illegally contrived primary by the Anambra PDP, which is a complete illegality,” the judge said.
Justice Ademola, who referred to the January 29, 2016 judgment and February 24, 2016 ruling of the Supreme Court on similar issues involving parties in the case, held that the apex court’s judgment and ruling were not in favour of the plaintiffs in this case.
The judge, who also referred to an earlier judgment by the late Justice Evoh Chukwu (also of the Federal High Court, Abuja), said the judgment only upheld the legitimacy of the Ejike Oguebego-led state Executive of the PDP in Anambra.
Justice Ademola held that the fact that Justice Chukwu’s judgment upheld the legitimacy of Oguebego-state EXCO of the PDP in Anambra State does not confer on it the power to nominate candidates for the party.
He said political parties, being national organisations, the power to nominate/select candidates for a party resides with its National Executive Council, not the state Executive Council.
He dismissed the suit, but made no order as to cost.