Appeal Court declares Imo PDP primaries’ venue valid, affirms Rep Chinedu’s election


The Imo State Election Petitions Appeal Court 2, sitting in Lagos, has affirmed Emeka Martins Chinedu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the legitimate candidate of the party and the duly elected representative for the Ahiazu/Mbaise/Ezinihitte Federal Constituency.

In a unanimous decision, the Appeal Court Justices, led by Justice Biobele Georgewill, endorsed the findings of the trial court and dismissed the appeals brought by Nnanna Igbokwe of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Labour Party candidate, Darlington Amaechi on the basis that their appeals were devoid of merit and failed to substantiate the issues raised.

This ruling conclusively settles the long-standing dispute regarding the venue of the PDP primaries, a pre-election matter that was previously deemed beyond the jurisdiction of the Appeal Court.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Labour Party had challenged the election of Chinedu Emeka from Imo State based on these issues.

The ruling aligns with the judgment delivered by the Tribunal for National and State Assembly Elections for Imo State on September 7, 2023, which had also declared Emeka Chinedu, the rightful winner of the Ahiazu/Ezinifite/Mbaise Federal Constituency seat.

The Tribunal also affirmed that other political parties lacked the authority or legal standing to interfere in the internal affairs of rival parties, stating that venue issues related to primaries were exclusively pre-election matters and, therefore, not within the Tribunal’s jurisdiction.

The arguments surrounding previous Supreme Court judgments on PDP Primaries were also found to be irrelevant to the respondents’ eligibility.

The Supreme Court had earlier upheld the validity of Emeka’s primary election and no other judgments could influence his legitimacy, especially now that the issues are considered pre-election matters beyond the Tribunal’s jurisdiction.

The matter of the PDP Primaries’ venue had been exhaustively examined by the High Court, Appeal Court, and Supreme Court, all of which consistently upheld Emeka Chinedu’s emergence as the party’s legitimate candidate.

APC’s Nnanna Igbokwe was consistently rejected as an “interloper” attempting to meddle in the PDP’s internal affairs.

Chinedu Emeka’s counterpart, Ikeagwuonu Onyinye Ugochinyere (Ikenga), representing Ideato North and South Federal Constituency of Imo State, also had his PDP primary elections at the same venue.

Subsequently, the Federal High Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court confirmed Ugochinyere’s eligibility to contest the election, rendering any challenges against his candidacy on the grounds of primary venue baseless.

In response to the judgment, the Centre for Judicial Integrity Watch, a pro-judiciary group, lauded the Appeal Court’s decision as a victory for democracy. They highlighted that the Appeal Court and even the Supreme Court had consistently affirmed that the Tribunal lacked the jurisdiction to adjudicate.

Abubakar Isah, Convener, Centre for Judicial Integrity Watch, expressed shock at the decision of the same appeal court which failed to uphold the election of other lawmakers, particularly that of Jonas Okeke whose primary election was held in the same venue with Chinedu Emeka and advised that the Court should avoid creating the impression of pick and choose on clear issues of law with abundant Judicial precedent and constitutional provision

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