The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra has welcomed the Federal High Court judgment which declared Dr Obiora Okonkwo winner of the Anambra Central Senatorial District seat.
A Federal High Court in Abuja had on Dec. 13 ordered that Okonkwo be sworn in as senator to replace for Mrs Uche Ekwunife, formerly of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who was sacked in 2016.
Ekwunife was said not to have been validly nominated for the March 2015 election.
But Justice John Tsoho ruled on Wednesday that Okonkwo was validly nominated having scored the highest votes in the Dec. 14, 2014 primary of the PDP.
The court ordered that Okonkwo should be sworn into the senate immediately.
Reacting to the judgment, Chief Ndubisi Nwobu, Chairman of PDP in Anambra on Friday in Awka congratulated Okonkwo for the victory, saying it was a collective victory for the PDP and Anambra Central District which had been without a representative in the senate for over a year.
The PDP chairman said it was a sign of good things that would come to party in Anambra after the failure in the last governorship election.
He urged him to be magnanimous in victory and expressed confidence that he would be able to give quality representation after his swearing in.
“The State Working Committee of the PDP and the entire members of the party in Anambra rejoice with our great son, Sen Obiora Okonkwo on the court’s verdict proclaiming him the rightful winner of the Senate for Anambra Central Senatorial Zone,’’ he said in a statement.
In a swift reaction, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) dismissed the court’s judgment as `inconsequential’’.
Chief Ifeatu Obi-Okoye, National Publicity Secretary of APGA, said in Awka on that the party was unfazed with the development, noting that the judgment of a High Court could not upturn that of Court of Appeal.
He said APGA was continuing its preparation for the Jan. 13, 2018 re-run as directed by the Court of Appeal, adding that the judgment of a High Court declaring PDP winner was null and void.
“You recall that prior to now, the court of Appeal had ordered INEC to conduct a repeat election within 90 days, whereupon INEC fixed for Jan. 13, 2018.
“In that judgment, the Court of Appeal disqualified PDP from participating in the re-run election, the reason being that as at the time of the initial election, the PDP did not nominate a valid candidate.
“It is surprising that the High Court gave a judgment in favour of Mr Obiora Okonkwo of the PDP.
“The questions are: can the High Court substitute Obiora Okonkwo for Uche Ekwunife in the face of the decision of the Court of Appeal and can the decision of the High Court upturn and overrule the subsisting judgment of Court of Appeal.
“The only decision that can upturn that decision of the Court of Appeal is the decision of the Supreme Court.
“To that extent, the judgment is non sequitor, Obiora Okonkwo cannot be sworn in as a Senator of Anambra Central in the face of the judgment of the Court of Appeal which is still subsisting,’’ he said.
The APGA spokesman said that the same High Court had last week confirmed that the PDP had no valid candidate in that election.
“The case of Mr Chike Madueke against PDP is still fresh, just last week, the High Court asked the PDP to return N4.5 million he paid for nomination form on the ground that there was no primary,’’ he said.