•Insist Supreme Court didn’t sack them SENATORS Andy Uba and Stella Oduah as well as seven Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) House of Representatives members from Anambra State have written a letter to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), dismissing reports that they were sacked by the Supreme Court on Friday. Mr. Arthur Obi Okafor (SAN), counsel to Uba (Anambra South); Oduah (Anambra North) and Reps Lynda Ikpeazu, Anayo Nnebe, Tony Nwoye, Chris Azubogu, Chukwuka Onyema, Obinna Chidoka and Eucharia Azodo, in the letter, asked the Commission not to be misled by reports to withdraw their Certificates of Return. They said nowhere in its ruling did the apex court sack them and that the thrust of the verdict was that the national leadership, not the state executive of the PDP had authority over the submission of candidates’ names for National Assembly elections. Many news outlets had interpreted the Supreme Court’s recognition of the Ejike Oguebego-led executive council of the party in the state as the authentic one. The primaries it conducted produced candidates other than those now representing the state in the National Assembly. The other faction, led by Augustine Akobundo and backed by the national leadership of the PDP, submitted its own list containing the names of the nine lawmakers and Uche Ekwunife to INEC. Ekwunife had earlier been sacked and has defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC). Okafor, in the January 29, 2015 letter to INEC and entitled The status of PDP Senators and Members of House of Representatives, said: “In two remarkable pronouncements, the Supreme Court of Nigeria eloquently held that no list other than that forwarded by the National Executive of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) shall be countenanced by the Commission. “In EMEKA v. OKADIGBO (2012) 18 NWLR (Part 1331) 55 at 87 Paras H-C the Court held thus:- ‘A diligent reading of the above reveals that it is the National Executive Committee of the PDP that is responsible for the conduct of the party’s National Assembly primaries. “The Court of Appeal was correct. There can only be one valid primary and that is the primaries conducted by the National Executive Committee. A primary conducted by the State Chapter of the PDP is not a primary. “It is an illegal contraption that carries with it no rights. It is a complete nullity. The primaries conducted on the 8th of January, 2011 were conducted by the National Executive Committee of the PDP and it was the only authentic primaries conducted by the PDP to choose its candidate for the Anambra North Senatorial Seat. “On the other hand, the purported primaries conducted on the 10th or 12th of January, 2011 were conducted by the State Chapter of the PDP. “It is null and void for the purpose of choosing the PDP’s candidate for the Senatorial elections. It is clear that at no time were two parallel primaries conducted.’ “ In EMENIKE v. PDP (2012) 12 NWLR (Part 1315) 556 at 594 Para H, the Supreme Court in interpreting a similar provision was emphatic that the PDP primaries conducted by the Abia State Executive Committee of PDP was illegal as it was not empowered to conduct primary election and that being the case, the “Respondent who emerged from the said primary was not properly elected. Further at page 602 para H, the Supreme Court settled the position thus:- “It must be elementary now, that the only valid primary is the one conducted by the National Executive Committee of the PDP. The primary which the Appellant participated in was illegal, it having been conducted by the State Executive of the PDP.’ “Also the Apex Court in SC.4/2014, SC.7/2014 and SC.752/2013: YAR’ADUA & ORS v. YANDOMA & ORS delivered on 19th December, 2014 per Mary UkaegoPeter-Odili JSC at page 34 held thus: “At the root of these decisions cited above is the fact that must be ingrained well in mind of the court and litigants that who becomes the candidate of a political party is an issue to be solely determined by that political party and well in its domestic realm and not for the interference of any agency or the court. “In that wise, since all the political parties are National, it is its National Executive Committee or delegates there from who can validly conduct a primary election or conduct a process through which the particular political party is to bring forth its candidate and no other arm of that party including a state organ of that party. “That was the gravamen of the case GARBA YAKUBU LADO & ORS. V. CPC & ORS (2012) All FWLR (Part 607) 623 and which the Supreme Court declined jurisdiction and also decided that neither the Court of Appeal nor the trial High Court had jurisdiction.’ “It was therefore odd for the Legal Department of the Commission to have ill advised the Commission to purport to accept the list forwarded by a self-styled State Executive while disregarding the list already domiciled with the Commission and forwarded by the National Executive of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). “By so doing, the Commission purported to have acted pursuant to what was said to be an Order of Court made by the Federal High Court Abuja Division in FHC/ABJ/CS/854/2014. “Your Honour, a perusal of the Order made in the said proceedings will not disclose any place where the Federal High Court Ordered the Commission to accept a list of Candidates forwarded by a State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). “That would have been a total impertinence if not rascality as every High Court is duty bound to obey the established principles of law as laid down by the Supreme Court of Nigeria. “Thus, with or without an Order of Court, on no account would the legal department or any other authority advise the Commission to accept a list forwarded by a self-styled State Executive. “It is also on record that our Client appealed the decision of the Federal High Court to the Court of Appeal which set aside the decision. Upon an appeal to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court on 29th January, 2016 allowed the appeal. “This appeal has now excited some attention and has been subjected to blatant and crude misinterpretations which have necessitated this correspondence. “This correspondence is aimed at setting the record straight so that your good self will not again be misled by your legal department into unjustifiably occasioning an unnecessary confusion in the process.”]]>

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