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Ebonyi PDP Guber: No controversy over Ifeanyi Odii’s candidacy, supreme court already spoken – State Chairman

The People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Chairman in Ebonyi State, Barrister Silas Joseph Onu has said that the issue of who the governorship candidate of the party in the State is has already been laid to rest by the Supreme Court, adding that “even a nursery one pupil knows that any judgement obtained from the lower court on a matter already determined by the supreme court is like a tissue paper in the toilet.”

Onu said; “on September 14, 2022, a five-member panel of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Amina Augie, unanimously declared Ifeanyi Odii, as the authentic governorship candidate of the PDP in Ebonyi State for next year’s election. That’s the final bus stop as per litigations on who our party’s gubernatorial candidate in Ebonyi State is.”

He described claim by Tochukwu Okorie, that he was the Chairman of PDP Ebonyi State as not only spurious, but prejudicial, adding that, “I wouldn’t ordinarily join issues with him as the substratum of this entire episode is before the Supreme Court for determination. However, I will attempt to touch on the barefaced lies contained in his claims.”

The chairman, who said no amount of shenanigans can unsettle what the supreme court had already settled concerning Odii’s candidacy, added that “Okorie and his co-travellers were only trying to wake a dead horse by going to a Federal High Court to secure a black market judgement on the State Chairmanship so as to use that as another ground to give life to the governorship primary matter, which has been laid to rest by the supreme court.”

He pointed out that in the judgment delivered on December 7, 2022, it was admitted that the case was an offshoot from the judgment of A.R Muhammed, a justice of the Federal High Court with coordinate jurisdiction as the one that delivered the judgment.

“Was it an appeal? In that judgment, it was also very clear that the actions being invalidated were the actions of the PDP, not those of Silas Joseph Onu as contained in their prayers – Silas Joseph Onu never conducted any election and if Tochukwu understand how political parties are managed, he won’t be messing himself up like this. The judgment was clear that the actions of the 2nd Defendant were being cancelled, not mine – very distinct from their prayers. I wonder if the judgment is saying that PDP cannot hold primary election because Mr. Tochukwu is fighting to be a State Chairman? Without a State Chairman, PDP can hold its primary elections and no court can stop that as provided in the Electoral Act, 2022,” Onu said.

Speaking further, the PDP chairman said; “He (Okorie) claimed that his action was independent of what is at the Supreme Court. This is patently false. The case where he obtained an unenforceable ‘stay of Execution’ is the same case at the Supreme Court. So, how can he attempt to invalidate actions that can be affirmed by the Supreme Court?

“Interestingly, when the Court of Appeal gave its judgment, a judgment being challenged at the Supreme Court, it ignored these imaginary request by Tochukwu. Their motion at the Court of Appeal was withdrawn and struck out. They, after being served with a notice of Appeal in the case, fraudulently filed the same motion at the Federal High Court and misled the Court into granting them prayers that are capable of overreaching the Supreme Court. The question to ask Mr. Tochukwu is, if the Supreme Court set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal for lack of jurisdiction, what will become of this Federal High Court judgment he obtained and how can the damages caused by his deceptive action be remedied?

“The Stay of Execution he has so vociferously relied on was never enforceable. In his own argument, he said that once a motion for stay of execution is pending, a judgment could not be enforced. There’s also a motion, where PDP (a joint applicant for the Stay of Execution) is praying for the Stay of the order of Stay of Execution by Court of Appeal. That motion remained alive up until the delivering of final judgment in the appeal. Little wonder why when they brought their application and also filed form 48, the new panel (different from the one that granted them a stay that was even more than a final judgment) totally ignored them. So, the Motion for Stay of his Stay of Execution made the order for stay to be in abeyance – it could not be flouted at all. Note, the application was made by PDP – a joint applicant for the Stay of Execution. Their reason was that Mr. Okoro who represented Tochukwu acted in disobedience in filing the Motion, knowing full well that PDP had fully executed the FHC judgment.

“A stay of Execution cannot be a cause of action as fraudulently contrived here by Mr. Tochukwu. If he had any issue with the disobedience, he should have insisted that his form 48 be activated. That is the remedy for disobedience to Court Order, not using same as a cause of action after a judgment is entered in the appeal. The judgment totally ends any interlocutory order made in the Appeal, assuming it was effective. The order for stay say ‘pending the hearing and determination of the main appeal’ and the judgment didn’t grant him any of such relief. This is why he also filed a cross-appeal at the Supreme Court asking for the setting aside of the Court of Appeal judgment. He should have requested the Supreme Court to make these orders for him, if he believed that they are tenable. The attempt to use a back door to get the relief he desires by misleading the FHC is fraudulent at best. Section 287 (2) CFRN does not help Mr. Tochukwu at all. What were the orders that he was enforcing? Was it beyond a the ineffective Stay of Execution?

“Also, the rule of fair hearing requires that I should be a party to such a suit, assuming it was one that is properly so called. All the actions that Tochukwu wants the Court to invalidate were said to be mine, so why proceed in absolute secrecy? In any case, his claims were false and outright lies. If I was a party, I would have brought this to the knowledge of the Court. Most importantly, the letters from PDP were written in plain English language and none of them authorised me to conduct any election whatsoever. These letter were simply acts of courtesy shown to a State Chairman for assistance to those assigned to carry out the activities. Whatever letter written to Police, INEC REC and others for support or indicating the venue for holding of primary elections, does not amount to conducting the said elections. The letters are self-explanatory and I wonder why the Federal High Court could not deduce that obvious fact. A host does not translate into the authority that conducted the said elections.

“Like I earlier stated, the Supreme Court has the final say on who is the Chairman of PDP Ebonyi State. The hearing of the Appeal by the Court of Appeal is being challenged because PDP withdrew from the Appeal and was not a party as at the time the Court of Appeal went on to hear the Appeal. Little wonder why the Supreme Court was asking, on day one, if they had jurisdiction to hear the appeal. Every lawyer worth his/her name knows that without the Political Party in a political case, the Court will not have jurisdiction. So, let’s wait and get the final decision before attempts to be cancelling or invalidating actions will commence.”

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