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Anambra 2021: Confusion as courts declare Ugochukwu Uba, Valentine Ozigbo PDP guber candidates

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A federal high court in Awka has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to publish the name of Valentine Ozigbo as candidate of the PDP for the November 6 Anambra state governorship election.

Ozigbo, a former chief executive officer of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria, secured 62 votes to emerge as the standard-bearer of the party in the primary election which was held on Saturday, June 26, 2021, at Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre, Awka.

Ozigbo had approached a federal capital territory (FCT) high court in Maitama seeking an order restraining the PDP from “tampering” with his name as the authentic candidate.

He also sought an order “mandating” INEC to publish his name as the party’s candidate.

However, the court refused all the orders sort and ordered the electoral commission not to publish the name of any candidate for the PDP pending the determination of the motion on notice.

But in a fresh order issued on Monday, Hyeladzira Nganjiwa, the judge in Awka, asked the electoral commission to publish Ozigbo’s name as PDP’s candidate, following the withdrawal of the suit at the FCT high court.

ANOTHER COURT

Obiora Nwabunike, judge of an Anambra state high court, declared Ugochukwu Uba as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the November 6 governorship election.

This is coming a few hours after Hyeladzira Nganjiwa, judge of a federal high court judge in Awka, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to publish the name of Valentine Ozigbo as candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the same election.

INEC had excluded the PDP from the list of cleared candidates, which was released on July 16.

The electoral body said its decision not to list the name of any PDP candidate was in recognition of court orders served in relation to the primary election of the party.

Ozigbo and Uba had emerged as the PDP’s governorship candidates from parallel primary elections.

Ozigbo subsequently filed an ex parte application on July 14, asking the court to recognise him as the authentic governorship candidate of the party.

The presiding judge refused to grant Ozigbo’s prayer, but instead issued an order of accelerated hearing of the suit.

On the other hand, Uba had approached the court in suit number A/230/2021 to determine if the primary election conducted by the national executive of the PDP at the Dora Akunyili Women’s Development Centre on June 26 was done according to the law.

He asked the court to determine whether an Abuja high court order, on a suit by one Samuel Anyakorah against PDP, bordering on validity of the process that produced Ndubuisi Nwobu, the party’s factional state chairman, had been set aside or stayed.

He also prayed the court to determine if the process of the primary, which produced Ozigbo through ‘super delegates’, was in line with the provisions of the electoral act, which states that primary elections would be done through delegates’ congress.

In his ruling, Nwabunike said the court order, which restrained PDP from conducting the primary election, had neither been stayed nor set aside.

He said that PDP erred by not clearing every legal huddle before the primary election, hence the process was in defiance of the law.

The court, therefore, resolved that the primary, which produced Uba at the Paul University’s complex on June 26 was lawful and in accordance with the electoral guidelines.

The judge also awarded N10 million in Uba’s favour as cost of litigation.

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