Supporters of Dr. Ifeanyi Odii, the candidate for governor of the Ebonyi Peoples Democratic Party for the 2023 elections, have praised the Supreme Court ruling confirming his victory as the party’s validly elected candidate.
The Nigeria news agency reports that the Apex court in Abuja on Wednesday confirmed in a unanimous decision the Ebonyi PDP governorship primaries of May 28 and 29, won by Odii.
The court overturned the appeal of Senator Obinna Ogba, who represents Ebonyi’s central senatorial zone, who challenged Odii’s victory, and affirmed Odii’s victory.
Odii supporters who spoke to NAN in Abakaliki, the capital of Ebonyi, on Wednesday, described the verdict as a welcome development for the state.
Mr Amuche Okoh, a supporter, said the verdict was for the good people of Ebonyi and for the development of democracy in the country.
Okoh said that Odii, popularly known as “AnyiChuks”, was a man of the people and a man of good heart who could take Ebonyi to the highest level.
“Anyichuks has laid a solid foundation in various human endeavors, especially in areas such as economic development and human empowerment.
Another supporter, Sunday Nwankwo, told NAN that with Odii as governor, if elected, the Ebonyi people would smile again
Nwankwo praised the decision of the highest court, noting that he would stand alongside Odii continuously in 2023.
“This is the man the Ebonyi people need as governor and I thank God it has come. Congratulations to him and the state,” he said.
Chika Nwoba, the PDP’s state secretary for publicity, said the victory was not just for the PDP in particular, but for the people of the state in general.
Nwoba urged party members, supporters and the general public to see the victory as the first step towards Ebonyi’s recovery on the path of good governance the party had always led since 1999.
“We thank the teeming supporters and members of PDP for the high degree of leniency they have shown during the moments of the lawsuits,” he added.
NAN reports that after the verdict, Odii called on all party believers in the state to unite to win in the state.
Odii, speaking to journalists, described the verdict as a welcome development for the party’s state chapter.
He said he would contact every PDP leader, including all aggrieved members, about how to map a new way forward.
“Today is a great day for us as a PDP family. The victory goes to PDP as one family.
“I will be in touch with every party leader, my loyal party members about how we will win the 2023 elections,” he said.
Noting that the issue of the faction crisis in the party had finally been put to rest, Odii said it was time for members to go back to the drawing board to move the party forward.
He therefore called on all aggrieved members to sheath their swords so that the party could successfully strip the ruling party from power.
He described the judiciary as the last hope of the common man.
“I’ve always hoped that this is the only place to get my mandate back,” he said.
During the 2023 poll, he said: “Ebonyi is a PDP state. The battle may look so fierce, but PDP is the winning side.”
NAN reports that Justice Lawal Garba, in a leading five-member panel ruling, ruled that Ogba, who currently represents Ebonyi Central Senatorial Zone, had no legal right to appeal to the court below.
He said the Abuja court of appeals did not have jurisdiction to hear the case at first instance, as Ogba was not a party to the entire proceedings conducted by the court (a federal high court in Abakaliki).
The judge said the entire proceedings conducted by the appeals court had been found to be incompetent, and described it as an exercise in futility.
NAN reports that Mr. Odii and Senator Ogba were engaged in a legal battle over who was validly chosen as the party candidate for the 2023 poll in the party’s primaries that took place in the state on several occasions.
NAN reports that the appeals court in Abuja recently named Ogba as the party’s governor candidate in the state, while overturning the Abakaliki court’s decision pronouncing Odii as a PDP candidate.
But Odii, dissatisfied with the court’s decision, filed an appeal stating: SC/CV/939/2022 to the Supreme Court.
In the lawsuit, Odii sued Ogba, PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission as 1st to 3rd respondents. (NAN).