- The Ebonyi state chapter of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been hit with a fresh leadership crisis
- This is as a Federal High Court in Abuja sacked Tochukwu Okorie as chairman of the party's chapter
- The court also ordered the PDP to issue certificate of return to Silas Onu who contested against Okorie
FCT, Abuja - A Federal High Court in Abuja has sacked Tochukwu Okorie as chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ebonyi state.
The presiding judge, Ahmed Mohammed, delivered the ruling sacking Okorie on Wednesday, April 13, TheCable reported.
He held that Okorie was not validly nominated to contest the election having submitted his nomination form on October 4, 2021, days after the October 1, 2021 deadline.
How the legal battle started
Legit.ng recalls that Okorie had polled 1,240 votes to defeat Silas Onu, the former state publicity secretary, who scored 260 votes in the October 16 election.
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Onu who was dissatisfied with the outcome of the election filed a suit challenging the process and listed the PDP Ebonyi chapter and Okorie as first and second defendants, respectively.
He prayed the court to rule whether or not Okorie qualified to contest in the October 16 election even after he did not submit his nomination form within the stipulated deadline.
In his judgment, Mohammed held that Okorie cannot be allowed to benefit from his wrongdoing.
“It is the opinion of this court that the second defendant (Okorie) was indolent in submitting his nomination form as provided in the guidelines issued by the PDP,” the judge held.
“In spite of this failure, he was still returned and declared elected. He cannot be allowed to benefit from his wrongdoing.”
Court orders PDP to issue a certificate of return to Onu
The judge also directed the PDP to issue a certificate of return to Onu, declaring him as the duly elected chairman of PDP, Ebonyi chapter, Nigerian Tribune also reported.
He had earlier dismissed the preliminary objection filed by the PDP where it alleged that Onu did not exhaust internal mechanisms available for resolving party matters before heading to court.
Mohammed ruled that PDP’s objection failed because the party was silent about the date Okorie submitted his nomination form.
He declared that he found PDP’s failure to deny the allegation by Onu, that Okorie submitted his nomination form on October 4 instead of October 1, 2021, as an admission of wrongdoing.
Umahi, deputy win big as appeal court dismisses defection suit seeking to sack them
Justice A.O. Belgore on Friday, April 1, dismissed the suit on the grounds of being inconsistent with the constitution and extant laws of the country.
This was made known in a statement on Friday, April 1, by Francis Nwaze, the special assistant to the governor on media and publicity which was made available to Legit.ng.