Governor Theodore Orji
By Tobi Soniyi and Charles Ajunwa
The Supreme Court yesterday declared that Theodore Orji was the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)'s candidate for the April 2011 governorship election in Abia State.
In a unanimous judgment, the court dismissed an appeal by Chief Ikechi Emenike who had asked it to hold that he was the one who won the party's primary and should therefore be declared the party's candidate.
With the verdict, the last judicial challenge against Orji’s election had been cleared.
Justice Afolabi Fabiyi who delivered the judgment of the court said Emenike failed to substantiate his claim that he was the duly selected person to run for the office of governor on PDP platform.
Emenike had claimed in his suit that he was screened, cleared and duly elected at a primary election conducted by the party’s State Executive Committee after the state's executives modified the party's electoral guidelines.
But Justice Fabiyi said the PDP constitution and guidelines did not confer any power on the state executives to modify the guidelines.
He also held that the state exco did not have the power to set up a gubernatorial screening committee.
The court held that Emenike was not cleared by the leadership of PDP and such he did not participate in the primary authorised and organised by the National Executive Committee of the party.
The court found as a fact that Emenike did not take part in the primary authorised by the PDP leadership.