Dele Ogbodo in Abuja
Eight members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who claim they were duly elected in the March 2015 House of Representatives’ elections by the people of Anambra state, on Saturday, called on the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, to release their certificate of returns without delay.
Their arguments were predicated on the rulings of both January 29 and February 24 by the Supreme Court, which upheld the initial judgment of the High Court that declared them duly-elected members to represent Anambra State at the national level.
Meanwhile, the group has petitioned the National Judicial Council (NJC) on the conflict of interest over the Supreme Court judgment, adding: “We aver that the verdict of the Appeal court cannot supersede that of the Supreme Court judgments.”
Present at the media briefing, in Abuja, were the members representing the eight constituencies: Hons. Emmanuel Nweke, Benedict Obaze, Charles Odedo, Princes Ifeyinwa Anazonwu, Mrs. Uchenna Obi, Dr. Ejike Nwene, Julius Oforma, and they were led by Anthony Offiah, the group’s spokesperson, who averred that the landmark judgment of Supreme Court was clear, unambiguous and without controversy on its rulings.
Recalling how they emerged on PDP’s banner to contest the elections, Offiah said: “Prior to the commencement of the primary elections that trump us up, there was a leadership tussle in Anambra State Chapter of PDP that snowballed into a legal action before Justice H A Kganjiwa of Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, Division in suit No FHC/PH/CS213/2013 Ejike Ogwuebego & Anor v PDP & Ord.
“In the course of the matter and before the primary elections that produced us was commenced, the learned Justice ordered INEC and PDP to deal with the Ogwuebego-led State Executive Committee in all election matters in Anambra in keeping with the dictates of the order.”
He said INEC went further to monitor the election, midwifed by the Ejike Ogwuegbego-led executive committee in compliance with PDP guidelines from which the eight members emerged, adding that this list was accepted and the names were published as duly elected members to contest the March 28 2015 elections.
He said after they contested and won the elections in their various constituencies, “On the 29 of January the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the High Court while dismissing the position of the Court of Appeal. So where is the controversy?, he asked.
“Everything that we have done have been in position with the PDP guidelines, so where is the controversy? This will be the second time that we are being denied the benefit of enjoying the judgment of the Supreme Court. There is no further interpretation that is needed here,” he said.
Offiah argued that the group that won the elections legitimately and through Supreme Court rulings cannot be treated as second class citizens in their country.
While asking INEC to do the right thing, he said: “I dare say to you that if we were the other side that got all the reliefs we would not be here today. Their certificates of return would have been given to them a long time ago.
“Let me remind the Chairman of INEC that Nigerians are watching and it is important for us to remind ourselves about the mantle of this government which is its Change mantra, the level of impunity that seems to be rearing its head must be nipped in the bud immediately.”