Two Anambra State High Courts sitting in Awka, have ordered (in separate judgements) the Independent National Electoral Commission to enlist Senator Ugochukwu Uba and Prof Chukwuma Soludo as the gubernatorial candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Grand Alliance, respectively, for the forthcoming governorship election.
It should be recalled that INEC had delisted Uba and Soludo from contesting in the polls, citing pending cases in court.
However, recently, Court 5 of the High Court presided over by Justice Obiora Nwabunike in a case brought before it by Senator Ugochukwu Uba against Mr Valentine Ozigbo, a divisional governorship candidate of the PDP and INEC, said Uba’s faction of the party conducted its primary election in line with “a subsisting live court judgement, stipulating the guidelines for the exercise.”
Nwabunike disclosed submissions by Ozigbo’s lawyers that a party’s primary election was an internal affair of the party were right but not when there was an existing court judgment guiding how the primary election should be conducted.
He said: “It’s not for nothing that court judges are called My Lords. When a court makes a pronouncement, it must be obeyed no matter how foolish or ugly anybody thinks it is.
“The constitution is supreme; the court is the supremacy. A court can even annul a section of the constitution. That’s how powerful the court is.
“So, it’s wrong for the PDP to go ahead to conduct the primary election at the Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre that produced Valentine Ozigbo, with what it called super delegates against a live judgment of a court without overturning the judgment.
“That action cannot be vitiated or mitigated by the argument adduced by defence counsel that party primaries are internal affairs of political parties.”
The court ordered Ozigbo and PDP to pay Uba N10m as cost of litigation.
In the same vein, a High Court presided over by Justice Chukwudi Okaa ordered INEC to enlist Soludo as the candidate of APGA, and delist Chukwudi Umeoji that was initially published by the commission.
Justice Okaa said Dr Victor Oye, as the authentic National Chairman of APGA, possessed the right tposarry out the primary election of the party and produce uor sponsor a candidate of the party in the poll and not the Jude Okeke faction of the party.
However, the Jude Okeke-led faction of APGA has appealed to INEC to reject the Court order.
National Publicity Secretary of the Okeke faction, Ikechukwu Chukwunyere, explained to journalists that the existing court judgment by a High Court in Jigawa State, wphas not been vacated as such, INEC was duty bound to respect it.