The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, ordered the removal of Mr Tochukwu Okorie as the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Ebonyi State.
The court, in a judgement that was delivered by Justice Ahmed Mohammed, held that Okorie was not validly nominated to contest the election for the position of Chairman of the PDP in Ebonyi State.
The court said that evidence before it established that Okorie submitted his form, three days outside the deadline that was set by the party.
According to the judge, “It is the finding of this court that the 2nd defendant (Okorie) who submitted his nomination form on October 4, 2021, instead of October 1, 2021, contrary to the guidelines of the conduct of congresses, is not validly nominated.
“It is the opinion of this court that the 2nd defendant, who was indolent in submitting his nomination form as provided in the guidelines issued by the PDP, who in spite of this failure, was still declared and returned elected, cannot be allowed to benefit from his wrongdoing”.
Justice Mohammed, consequently, directed the PDP to hold that only Onu was lawfully nominated to participate in the election of October 16, 2021, and to issue him a certificate of return declaring him as the duly elected Chairman of PDP, Ebonyi Chapter.
The judge also granted the prayer asking for a declaration that Okorie was not qualified to participate in the election organized and held by the PDP for failing and refusing to submit his nomination form on or before the fixed deadline of October 1, 2021.
He also granted the prayer asking for a declaration that the 2nd defendant’s participation in the said election was contrary to the clear and unambiguous schedule for the conduct of state congresses, therefore rendering such participation null and void.
The court ordered PDP to recognise Mr Silas Onu as the sole candidate for the Chairmanship position of the party in the state.
Meanwhile, irked by the judgement, Okorie, yesterday, also approached the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, asking it to set aside and stop the execution of the judgement.
In six grounds of appeal he filed through his team of lawyers led by Mr Ugochukwu Ezekiel, Okorie, maintained that Justice Mohammed erred in law and occasioned a miscarriage of justice against him.
Insisting that his form was submitted within the stipulated timeframe, Okorie, argued that Onu did not exhaust the internal dispute resolution mechanism before he went to court.
Besides, he contended that the high court was wrong when it held that Onu’s suit was properly commenced by way of an Originating Summon.
He, therefore, urged the appellate court to set aside the judgement and okay his continued stay in office