Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Uba, Oduah to remain in Senate

Controversies over Supreme Court's ruling on the authentic executive of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Anambra State chapter, and the implied consequences on elected lawmakers was over the weekend laid to rest as the Certified True Copy, CTC, of the judgment cleared the embattled lawmakers.

According to a copy of the judgement, the court in its ruling by Justice John Inyang Okoro held that the Appeal Court erred in law by recognising the Ken Emeakanyi faction as against the Oguebego group.

A section of the media had erroneously reported that Senators Andy Uba and Stella Odua may have lost their seats in the red chamber, but with the CTC obtained by our reporter, the coast is now clear for the senators and all other lawmakers from the state to remain in the National Assembly. Part of the judgement reads: "I hold that view that the court below misconceived the real issue," said the judge, adding that "there was no controversy as to which organ of the 1st respondent (PDP) has power to conduct primaries. I can say it for the umpteenth time that the main issue was that stated by the learned trial judge.

That is, whether the 1st respondent can ignore the subsisting order of court and set up a caretaker committee for the Anambra State PDP in brazen contempt of the court. Other issues that were thrown up were just to garnish the issue. Therefore, the court below, having left the main issue of the controversy …dwelled on the issue as to which organ of the PDP …" The judge continued: "Accordingly, I hold that there was no feature in the court below to apply the cases of Okadigbo vs. Emeka & Ors (supra) and Emenike vs. PDP (supra). The two authorities decided on which organ of apolitical party has power to conduct primaries.

This is not the issue in this case." Another aspect of the Supreme Court ruling which states the current position of Uba was indicated when the court stated that "with due respect, the court below came to the above conclusion because it misconceived the claim of the appellants before it.

It is trite that in determining whether the facts in support of an originating summons are contentious, it is the nature of the claim and the facts deposed to in the affidavit in support of the claims that will be examined to see if they disclose disputed facts and the hostile nature of the proceedings. "I may ask: is there any dispute that the Federal High Court made an order directing the 1st and 2nd respondents to recognise the appellants as executive members of the PDP in Anambra State? The answer is No.

"Secondly, is there any dispute that the 2nd respondent wrote Exhibit E, recognising the 1st appellant and his executive committee members, as ordered by the court? Again, the answer is No. "Thirdly, is there any dispute the fact that the 1st respondent reacted negatively by setting up a caretaker committee in spite of the order of the Federal High Court? The answer is No. So, what are we talking about?

"The issue before the trial court was whether the 1st respondent can rubbish the judgment/order of the court for whatever reason and set up a caretaker committee, other claims notwithstanding. For me, I strongly hold the view that there is no dispute on the relevant/essential facts granting the claims of the appellants which relate to the determination/interpretation of the action of the 1st respondent in setting up a caretaker committee of the PDP Anambra State chapter during the pendency of the judgment/order of the Federal High Court recognising the appellants as persons duly elected to that position.

"The 1st and 3rd respondents have tried to raise issues which tend to show that there are conflicts as to facts. I do not see any. Those facts which seem to cause disputes are not relevant to the determination of the main issue before the court." Meanwhile, Senators Uba, Oduah and their colleagues in the House of Representatives from Anambra State have clarified the INEC that the Supreme Court judgment delivered on Friday has not invalidated their election.

They insisted that the primary election that produced them as candidates for the 2015 general elections was conducted by the national secretariat of the PDP as required by law and not the Anambra State chapter of the PDP as being insinuated. The affected lawmakers are Senators Stella Oduah and Andy Uba.

Others are members of House of Representatives and they Asinclude Lynda Chuba Ikpeazu, Anayo Nnebe, Tony Nwoye Okechukwu, Chris Azubogu, Chukwuka Onyema, Obinna Chidoka and Eucharia Azodo. Their lawyer, Chief Arthur Okafor, SAN, told National Mirror that the judgement did not in any way affect the validity of their election. He said: "The Supreme Court did not order the withdrawal of the Certificates of Return issued by the commission to our clients.

They did not hold that the faction of the PDP had the right to sponsor candidates for the PDP." He said further that the court did not equally authorise the commission to substitute the lawmakers with the individuals whose names were on the list improperly allowed by INEC in obvious disregard of the series of judgements of the Supreme Court of Nigeria to the effect that it was only the national executive of the party that has the right to sponsor candidates.

AbleMoJah® Nigeria.

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