Tayo Busayo, Abuja – The Supreme Court has declared Ifeanyi Odii, as the Governorship Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ebonyi State, for the 2023 elections.


The apex court arrived at its decision after setting aside the entire judgement of the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal, which declared Senator Obinna Ogba, as the Governorship Candidate.


Consequently, the five-member panel of Justices of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Amina Augie, unanimously upheld the appeal filed by Ifeanyi as meritorious.


In the lead judgement read by Justice Lawal Garba, the five-man panel, headed by Justice Amina Augie, noted that senator Ogba did not have the right of Appeal because he was not part of the suit when the matter came up at the trial court in Abakaliki, where Ogba’s candidature was upturned.


Justice Garba held that the purported notice of appeal filed by Ogba on June 17, which gave rise to the judgement of the lower court, was incompetent in law as it was filed without the leave of court.


The court held that a person having an interest in a pre-election matter, but who was not made a party to the proceedings, ought to have obtained leave of the trial court to appeal as an interested party.


The judge said that the entire proceedings conducted by the appellant court were found to be without jurisdiction and described it as an exercise in futility.


“You cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand; it will definitely collapse”, Garba said.


Garba consequently set aside the judgement of the Court of Appeal delivered on June 19, declaring Ogba as the validly elected candidate of the party.


Justice Augie, who agreed with the lead judgement, distinguished her judgement in the Ujogbo Vs Abba Umaro decision, which the lower court relied upon in its decision.


Mr Odii and Sen. Ogba were engaged in a legal battle over who was validly elected as the party’s candidate for the 2023 poll in the party’s primary that took place at different locations in the state.


The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, recently declared Ogba as the governorship candidate of the party in the state, while setting aside the judgement of the trial court sitting in Abakaliki that pronounced Odii as a PDP candidate.


But dissatisfied with the court decision, Odii in an appeal marked: SC/CV/ 939/2022, sued M Ogba, PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as 1st to 3rd respondents.