The Federal High Court, Abuja on Monday ruled that a member of the House of Representatives, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, was the duly elected governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Enugu state.
It held that his challenger, Ayogu Eze, a Senator, failed to abide by any section of the 1999 Constitution or Electoral Act as well as the party’s guidelines for the conduct of the December 8, 2014 governorship primary election, which he was contesting.
Mr. Eze, who emerged the governorship candidate of the PDP at a parallel primary on the same day, had instituted a suit challenging Mr. Ugwuanyi’s election for the same position at a different primary held in another location.
He prayed the court to restrain the PDP from submitting the name of any other candidate order than him to the Independent National Electoral Commission as the party’s governorship candidate.
He joined the National Chairman of the PDP, Adamu Mu’azu, and the INEC as defendants.
The senator told the court that the party conducted ward congresses in the state on November 1 following which a list of delegates for the conduct of the primary election for the governorship candidate emerged and that it comprised names of the elected delegates.
He also said the list was authenticated by the Federal High Court presided over by Justice Adeniyi Ademola in an earlier judgement.
In his ruling, however, Justice Evoh Chukwu, said going by the averments made during the proceedings of the suit, only one primary election of the party was held in the state.
He said only the national executive committee of the PDP and not the state executive committee had the power to organize primary elections.
The Enugu State Chapter of the PDP expressed joy over the judgement.
In a statement by its spokesperson, Okey Eze, the PDP party said it was a party founded on the principles of justice, equity, inclusiveness, and respect for rule of law and democratic tenets.
“We have never had any doubts that we religiously complied with extant laws, party guidelines, and all due process in the nomination of Hon. Ugwuanyi as our flag bearer,” it said. “It is therefore gladdening that the Court has vindicated the party and affirmed the candidature of Hon. Ugwuanyi.”
The party said the judiciary, by this verdict, had once more showed itself as the last hope of the common man and the bulwark of the nation’s democracy.
It stated, “We hope that this has finally laid to rest any misgivings and contentions over the December 8, 2014 PDP governorship primary election in Enugu State as we invite our brother, Senator Ayogu Eze, and all former gubernatorial aspirants to join the mass movement for Ugwuanyi’s governorship come May 29, 2015 in the spirit of brotherhood and in the interest of the party and the State.
“The good governance and development of Enugu State are paramount. Democratic governance is a huge responsibility; and there will certainly be prominent roles for all to towards the betterment of our dear State.”