Appeal Court Verdict: Abia PDP Warns Labour Party against Crisis

Appeal Court Verdict: Abia PDP Warns Labour Party against Crisis

Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia

The Peoples Democratic Party in Abia State has raised the alarm over the potential breakdown of law and order following the Labour Party (LP)’s rejection of the Appeal Court judgment sacking Senator Darlington Nwokocha. 

   The Appeal Court is the final court in the adjudication of petitions arising from the National Assembly and State Assembly elections.

On October 4, 2023, the Appeal Court in Lagos voided the victory of Nwokocha, who was the candidate of LP in the February 25 National Assembly poll for Abia Central senatorial district. In the verdict of the three-man appeal panel, the candidate of the PDP, Col. Austin Akobundu (rtd), was returned as the authentic winner to represent Abia Central in the 10th National Assembly. But while celebrating the triumph of its candidate, the state PDP said it was worried at the “dangerous” posturing of the LP leadership in the state hence the need for security agencies to be ready to nip in the bud any threat to peace and security.

The PDP expressed its apprehension weekend in a statement issued by its Vice Chairman/acting State Publicity Secretary, Hon Abraham Amah, citing documents and utterances allegedly emanating from the LP camp.

He said: “One of the documents is a circular from the Labour Party in Ikwuano, which is calling its members to a solidarity rally in black clothes to protest the judgment of the Court of Appeal.

“This is unheard of in the history of our democracy that a political party would call its members to protest the judgment of a court.”

Amah further stated that the stance of the Abia State LP leadership is worrisome with the party’s Chairman, Ceekay Igara, questioning the Appeal Court judgment and insisting that Nwokocha “still remains” the senator for Abia Central.

Igara had told a press conference in Umuahia shortly after the verdict was given in Lagos that “we are more shocked by the rascality of the judiciary, especially muscling and divisive judgment.”

The state PDP spokesman faulted Igara for his utterances, saying he was calling for anarchy by rejecting and asking for a review of the judgment of a competent court of final jurisdiction.

“He (Igara) assumed the position of Judge Extraordinaire to lecture Abians, Nigerians and the media on why the judgment of a validly constituted court should not stand because a member of his party was removed from office,” Amah said.

He noted that the LP leadership was engaging in “a careless and unforgivable display of ignorance” with its attempts to reduce the petition of the PDP to Section 77 of the Electoral Act.

According to him, “The Labour Party is quite ignorant of the fact that Abia State PDP had 19 grounds of appeal, most of which Labour Party could not defend against.”

Amah explained that most of the grounds of his party’s appeal bothered on noncompliance to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the 2022 Electoral Act as amended.

“Their attempt to reduce the petition of the PDP to Section 77 of the Electoral Act is a careless and unforgivable display of ignorance,” he said, adding that the Court of Appeal had already determined that Section 77 is both a pre-election and post-election matter.

“More grievous display of ignorance is the inability of the Labour Party to provide a copy of the judgment to the media even while making wild claims of reversal in the same breath.

“It is quite unfortunate that the Labour Party would stay mute when judgments go in its favour but prefer to bully society whenever a judgment goes against it,” the state PDP spokesman said.

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