Federal High Court sacks Okorie as Ebonyi PDP Chairman


 

A Federal High Court in Abuja, on Wednesday held that Mr Tochukwu Okorie was not validly nominated to contest the election for the position of Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ebonyi

Delivering judgment in the suit filed by Mr Silas Onu, challenging the election of Okorie, Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed held that Okorie was indolent in submitting his nomination form and could not be allowed to benefit from his wrongdoing.

According to the judge, ”it is the finding of this court that the 2nd defendant (Okorie) who submitted his nomination form on October 4, 2021, instead of October. 1, 2021 contrary to the guidelines of the conduct of congresses is not validly nominated.

The judge said he was therefore not qualified to contest in the said election of October 16, 2021.

“It is the opinion of this court that the 2nd defendant, who was indolent in submitting his nomination form as provided in the guidelines issued by the PDP, who in spite of this failure, was still declared and returned elected, cannot be allowed to benefit from his wrongdoing.”

Justice Mohammed consequently directed the PDP to hold that only Onu was lawfully nominated to participate in the election of October 16, 2021 and to issue him a certificate of return declaring him as the duly elected Chairman of the PDP in Ebonyi.

The judge also granted the prayer asking for a declaration that Okorie was not qualified to participate in the election organized and held by the PDP in October 16, 2021 for failing and refusing to submit his nomination form on or before the fixed deadline of October 1, 2021.

He also granted the prayer asking for a declaration that the 2nd defendant’s participation in the said election was contrary to the clear and unambiguous schedule for the conduct of state congresses, therefore rendering such participation null and void.

The judge had earlier, dismissed the preliminary objection filed by the PDP where it alleged that Onu did not exhaust the internal mechanisms available for resolving such party matters before heading to court.

The judge also said the application failed because the PDP was silent on when Okorie submitted his nomination form.

He said he found the defendant’s failure to deny the allegation of the plaintiff that Okorie submitted his nomination form on October 4 instead of October 1, 2021, as an admittance of wrongdoing.

“The consequence is that the 2nd defendant’s nomination form, submitted on October 4, 2021, instead of October 1, 2021, was submitted out of time.”

It will be recalled that the Ebonyi chapter of the PDP, on October 16, 2021 elected Okorie as the new chairman of the party in the state.

Okorie polled a total of 1,240 votes to defeat Onu, the former state publicity secretary of the party who scored 260 votes.

Onu, however, dissatisfied with the process which led to the emergence of Okorie as chairman of the party in the state, filed a suit challenging the process and listed the PDP and Okorie as defendants.

One of the questions Onu asked the court to determine was whether, upon the failure of Okorie to meet up with the deadline fixed by the PDP for the submission of the nomination form, Okorie was qualified to contest the election.

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