Enugu: Ugwuanyi Floors Ayogu Eze at Appeal Court

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Tobi Soniyi in Abuja

The Court of Appeal in Abuja yesterday dismissed the appeal by the former governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 general election in Enugu State, Senator Ayogu Eze, seeking to upturn the emergence of Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as the candidate of the party nominated at the December 4, 2014 primary election in the state.

The court in a judgment delivered by Justice Peter Ige, dismissed the appeal for lack of merit as well as lack of locus standi by Eze, whom the court said, admitted in his affidavit, that he did not participate in the primary election conducted by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the PDP.

The court also held that the high court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit ab initio since Eze did not qualify as an aspirant and was therefore not entitled to challenge the outcome of the primary election as provided in Section 87 (9) of the Electoral Act.

He explained that in line with the Electoral Act “the aspirant must be an insider, somebody who participated in the primary authorised by the party.
“The appellant admitted he was aware that another primary was conducted by Asara Asara, but that he did not participate.
“The appeal of the appellant lacks merit. The judgment of the lower court is affirmed,” he added.

Eze had approached the Federal High Court, Abuja, seeking, among other reliefs, “A declaration that the plaintiff (Ayogu Eze), having been elected by the majority of the lawful votes cast at the primary election held on December 8, 2014, for the election of a governorship candidate for the 1stdefendant (PDP) where the authentic and authenticated list of delegates for the 1st defendant (primary election) held on November 1, 2014 and sanctioned and recognised by the Federal High Court judgment of November 24, 2014 is the right candidate of the 1st and 2nd defendants (PDP and PDP National Working Committee) whose name must be submitted to the third defendant as their rightful governorship candidate for the general election of 2015.”

The lower court dismissed the case of Ayogu Eze as it held that the judgment of Justice Ademola did not compel the party to use any particular list of ad-hoc delegates for the primary election, hence there was no breach of Section 87 (4) (b) of the Electoral Act.
Meanwhile, the judgment of the Court of Appeal yesterday, was received with jubilation by supporters of Ugwuanyi who were in court in their numbers.