A Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday sacked Tochukwu Okorie as the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ebonyi State, saying he was not validly nominated to contest the election for the position.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed made the order while delivering judgment in the suit filed by Silas Onu who challenged the election of Okorie.
He held that Okorie was late in submitting his nomination form and could not be allowed to benefit from his wrong doing.
According to him, it was the finding of the 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, was not validly nominated.
The judge held that he was therefore not qualified to contest in the said election of October 16, 2021.
“It is the opinion of this court that the 2nd defendant, who was late in submitting his nomination form as provided in the guidelines issued by the PDP, was still declared and returned elected, cannot be allowed to benefit from his wrong doing,” Justice Mohammed stated.
He 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 the PDP in Ebonyi State.
The judge also granted the prayer asking for a declaration that Okorie was not qualified to participate in the election organised and held by the PDP on October 16, 2021 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.
Justice Mohammed had earlier dismissed the preliminary objection filed by the PDP where it alleged that Onu did not exhaust the internal mechanisms available for resolving such party matters before heading to court.
The judge said the application failed because the PDP was silent on the date Okorie submitted his nomination form.
He said he found the defendant’s failure to deny the allegation of the plaintiff that Okorie submitted his nomination form on October 4 instead of October 1, 2021 was an admittance of wrong-doing.
“The consequence is that the nomination form of the 2nd defendant, submitted on October 4, 2021 instead of October 1, 2021, was submitted out of time,” the judge added.
The Ebonyi State chapter of the PDP, on October 16, 2021 elected Okorie as the chairman, having polled a total of 1,240 votes to defeat Onu, the former state publicity secretary of the party who scored 260 votes.
Dissatisfied with the process that led to the emergence of Okorie as chairman, Onu filed a suit challenging the process and listed the PDP and Okorie as defendants.
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