he Court of Appeal, on Wednesday, dismissed a fresh appeal challenging the nomination of Chukwuma Ifeanyi as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ebonyi in the March 11 Governorship election.
The appellate court dismissed the suit filed by Tochukwu Okorie, on the grounds that it constituted a gross abuse of court processes.
Justice Adebukola Banjoko, who read the unanimous judgment of the three-man panel also affirmed the N5 million fine imposed on the appellant’s lawyer for engaging in court abuse.
Okorie had dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and PDP before the Court of Appeal challenging the nomination of Ifeanyi.
Also, praying for the setting aside of a default judgment he secured at the Federal High Court in Abakaliki.
A Federal High Court judge in Abakaliki, Justice Fatun Fiman had on February 1, 2023, in a suit number: FHC/ABJ/ CS/1696/2022, filed by Okorie against INEC and PDP set aside an earlier decision of the same court which was granted in favour of the plaintiff.
Justice Riman set aside all reliefs granted in favour of Okorie upon becoming aware that the plaintiff (Okorie) grossly suppressed material fact.
This is especially, the final judgment of the Supreme Court on the same subject matter to secure the default judgment.
Dissatisfied with the setting aside of the judgment, Okorie had approached the Appellate Court in Abuja praying that all the reliefs granted him by the Federal court in Abakaliki be restored to him.
His request was, however, vehemently opposed by the PDP through its counsel, Mr. Chris Uche, SAN.
Uche informed the court that the Supreme Court had in its judgment last year settled all issues relating to the nomination of the PDP’s governorship candidate in Ebonyi.
Specifically, the senior advocate informed the Court of Appeal that the Apex Court affirmed Chukwuma Ifeanyi as the governorship candidate.
He also told the appellate court that the Federal High Court in Abakaliki reversed the default judgment in line with the provisions of the law.
The law on suppression of fact and pleaded with the Court of Appeal to dismiss the case of the appellant.
In her judgment, Justice Banjoko agreed with the PDP counsel that the appellant was in gross abuse of court processes with multiple cases over the same subject matter.
Banjoko specifically held that the fresh case by Okorie was an affront to the final decision of the Supreme Court on the Ebonyi PDP governorship ticket tussle.
The appellate court thereafter dismissed the appeal and affirmed the N5 million fine imposed on counsel to the appellant.
The Supreme Court had on Sept. 14, 2022, in an appeal marked: SC/CV/939/2022, affirmed Chukwuma Ifeanyi as the lawful governorship candidate of the PDP.
Ifeanyi having emerged from a primary election conducted by the National Working Committee of the PDP.
The Apex Court had struck out the appeal filed by a factional governorship aspirant, Sen. Obinna Ogba on the grounds that the issue of nomination of candidates for election is a domestic affairs of political parties.
Reacting to the latest judgment, Chief Uche admonished lawyers to always counsel their clients against engaging in abuse of court process.