Silas Onu, a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), has appealed the appeals court’s decision to dismiss him as chairman of Ebonyi State.
The appeals court in its decision also reinstated Mr. Tochukwu Okorie as the party’s substantive chairman in the state.
Mr Silas Onu, the party’s former spokesperson, raised two grounds of appeal in the appeal.
Mr. Onu and Mr. Tochukwu Okorie had competed for the chairmanship position which was taken up on October 16, 2021.
Okorie took 1,240 votes to defeat Silas Onu, who scored 260 votes in the election.
Dissatisfied, Onu filed suit against the trial, listing the PDP and Okorie as the first and second defendants, respectively.
Onu prayed for the court to decide whether or not Okorie was eligible to run in the October 16 election, even after he failed to submit his nomination form by the deadline.
The Federal Supreme Court in Abuja agreed with him and dismissed Tochukwu Okorie as chairman.
Judge Ahmed Mohammed, the presiding judge, ruled in the trial on April 13, 2021, ruling that Okorie had not been validly nominated to participate in the election after submitting his nomination form on October 4, 2021 – days after the October 1, 2021 deadline. .
Justice Mohammed ruled that Okorie should not profit from his misdeeds
“It is the opinion of this court that the second defendant (Okorie) was slow in submitting his nomination form as provided for in the guidelines of the PDP,” the judge ruled.
“Despite this failure, he was sent back and declared elected. He must not profit from his misdeeds.”
Consequently, the judge also ordered the party to issue proof of return to Onu, proclaiming him the duly elected chairman of PDP, Ebonyi Chapter.
But Tochukwu Okorie appealed the decision to the appeals court, arguing that the case is an internal matter that the lower court should not have heard in the first place.
The appeals court, Abuja Division agreed with him on August 15, as it overturned and overturned the lower court verdict of April 13, 2022.
Therefore, it fired Mr. Silas Onu as chairman and reinstated Okorie as substantive chairman of the party in the state.
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In a unanimous decision, the three-member panel of judges ruled that the court erred in deeming it competent to treat the case as an internal matter of the party that is not judicial.
Mr. Silas in ground one argues that the Court of Appeal erred in law when it considered itself competent for the appeal submitted to it and determined this.
According to him, the notice of appeal instituting the appeal to the Court of Appeal was a joint notice of appeal filed on April 22, 2022 by the People’s Democratic Party as the first appellant and the current defendant, as the second appellant therein.
During the appeal, the People’s Democratic Party accepted the court’s ruling and chose to stop its appeal.
“The Court below removed the name of the People’s Democratic Party from the appeal and the defendant proceeded to amend the joint statement of objection and joint pleading note.
“The defendant filed a new notice of appeal on July 4, 2022, dated July 4, 2022, completely removing the People’s Democratic Party, a party directly affected by the appeal, from the proceedings,” he said.
Mr. Silas insists that the cessation of the appeal by the People’s Democratic Party renders the joint appeal incompetent and cannot be changed thereafter
“The removal of the People’s Democratic Party as a party to the appeal changed the original parties to the appeal, which is a retrial of the proceedings in the court of appeals.”
“The lower court should quash the appeal as it had no jurisdiction to issue a further injunction as the appeal became fundamentally flawed and incompetent.”
“The defendant should file its own appeal when filing the appeal and make the People’s Democratic Party the defendant in the appeal as it was a necessary party to the court”
“The defendant’s notice of appeal, filed on July 4, 2022 and on which the appeal was heard and determined, is without jurisdiction.
“The lower court had no jurisdiction to adjudicate the defendant’s claim on the defective joint notice of Appeal filed on April 22, 2022, or the notice of appeal filed by defendant on July 4, 2022.”
On the basis of ground two, Mr Onu is of the opinion that the Court of Appeal has erred in law and has therefore reached an incorrect decision when it ruled that the case was an internal matter of the party that the court should not have heard.
According to him, “By Article 82(1) and (3) of the Elections Act 2022, it is clear that the Elections Act 2022 emphasizes regulating the activities of political parties by setting a standard within which political parties must conduct their business. , including conventions and conventions”.
“Under Section 84(14) of the 2022 Election Act, the Federal Supreme Court has jurisdiction to hear and decide questions arising out of the violation of any provision of the electoral law. Act, 2022; the statutes of a political party and the guidelines of a political party”.
He believed that the case in the court borders on a complaint about non-compliance with the guidelines for holding congress established by the People’s Democratic Party under its constitution, and the like is justified.
He further believed that political parties are required by law to obey and respect their own constitution and guidelines drawn up under it.
“It is a banal law, as set forth by the Supreme Court in AGI v. PDP & ORS  LPELR-42518(SC) that a court will meddle in the affairs of a political party when the party has “violated its own constitutional provisions”
“The court has established and exercised its jurisdiction on the basis of: to determine that the complaint was solely about the non-compliance by the People’s Democratic Party with the provisions of its guidelines, which were drafted in accordance with the Constitution.
“It is also trite that where there is a violation of a right, there is
be a cure. The Court’s decision below has led to a miscarriage of justice,” he added.
Mr Onu therefore urges the highest court to grant an injunction allowing his appeal.
He also requests annulment of the decision of the Court of Appeal of August 15, 2022.
Mr. Onu further prayed to the court for an injunction to reinstate the court’s decision of April 13, 2022, declaring him as the party’s authentic chairman in the state.
The PDP has become fragmented ahead of the party’s primaries, with Mr. Onu leading one faction while Okorie leading the other.
As a result, two governor candidates emerged from the party’s primaries.
While Mr. Ifeanyi Odii emerged as the candidate from the Ọnụ faction primaries, Obinna Ọgba, who represents Ebonyi Central in the Senate, emerged as the candidate from the primaries led by the Okorie faction.
Both candidates are currently fighting to become the party’s authentic candidate for the 2023 governor elections.