The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Wednesday ruled that the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ebonyi, Tochukwu Okorie, was not validly nominated to contest election into the position.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed held that Mr Okorie was indolent in submitting his nomination form and could not benefit from his wrongdoing.
He declared that Mr Okorie submitted his nomination form on October 4, 2021; days after the October 1, 2021 deadline stipulated in the guidelines on the conduct of congresses.
Mr Mohammed stressed that Mr Okorie could, therefore, not have been validly nominated and was not qualified to contest in the election held on October 16, 2021.
He consequently directed the PDP to hold that only Silas Onu who filed the suit, was lawfully nominated to participate in the election of October 16, 2021.
The judge also directed the party to issue a certificate of return to Mr Onu declaring him as the duly elected chairman of PDP, Ebonyi chapter.
The judge had earlier dismissed the preliminary objection filed by the PDP where it alleged that Mr Onu did not exhaust internal mechanisms available for resolving party matters before heading to court.
He ruled that PDP’s objection failed because the party was silent about the date Mr Okorie submitted his nomination form.
The party elected Mr Okorie as chairman on October 16, 2021, having polled 1,240 votes to defeat Mr Onu, the former publicity secretary, who scored 260 votes.
Dissatisfied with the outcome, Mr Onu filed a suit challenging the process and listed the PDP Ebonyi chapter and Okorie as first and second defendants, respectively.