THE Court of Appeal, Abuja Division yesterday declared wife of former Senate President, the late Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, Lady Margery Chuba-Okadigbo, as the lawful standard bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and winner of the Anambra North Senatorial District of the State conducted on April 16, this year during the National Assembly elections.
The Court of Appeal declared Lady Okadigbo Senator and ordered that she be sworn in immediately into the Senate to occupy the Anambra North Senatorial seat that had been vacant in the past six months due to various legal contentions s over the said seat.
In a unanimous verdict of a-three man panel delivered by Justice M.U. Mukhtar, it held that “Lady Margery Chuba-Okadigbo having polled the highest number of votes in the primary election conducted in the state remains the candidate and winner of the Anambra North Senatorial seat in the National Assembly.”
The appellate court agreed with all documents including the primary election result tendered by PDP, INEC and Lady Okadigbo, which all indicated that she emerged victorious at the primary election conducted by Senator Joseph Waku Committee on behalf of PDP National Working Committee.
The court, while setting aside the lower court judgment which favoured Senator Igbeke, held that it was wrong of the Federal High Court to have based its decision solely on the documents submitted to it by Igbeke and closed its eyes on other documents of the other parties in the case especially the PDP, INEC and Lady Okadigbo.
Specifically, the court after evaluating all documents relating to the case agreed that Lady Chuba-Okadigbo polled 168 votes, Senator Igbeke 23 votes and Prince John Emeka 15 votes and therefore had no hesitation in declaring Lady Chuba-Okadigbo as the properly nominated candidate of PDP and as well as the winner of the last April National Assembly Election.
In reaction to the judgment, former Special Adviser to the late Chuba Okadigbo, Dr. James Okoroma, prayed the Senate President to ensure quick inauguration of the winner so as to occupy the vacant seat of the Anambra North in the Upper Chamber.
Okoroma lamented that the people of Anambra North have no voice in the National Assembly on national issues affecting the country in the past six months adding that it will be a thing of joy for the representatives of the district to be allowed to take the seat and champion the cause of the people of the district without any further delay.
Similarly, a former Commissioner for Information in Anambra and Campaign Manager of Lady Chuba-Okadigbo, Chief Joe Ofokansi appealed that the Senate leadership under Senator David Mark should not hesitate to swear in Lady Chuba-Okadigbo so that the Anambra North Senatorial District will take its rightful seat in the Senate.
It would be recalled that the court had consolidated all the appeal cases brought by Prince John Emeka, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) seeking to set aside the judgment of Justice Abdul Kafarati of federal high court, Abuja which favoured another aspirant, Senator Alphonsus Igbeke.
Mrs. Chuba-Okadigbo argued that she participated in the PDP recognized primary election, while others argued that they participated in other primary elections conducted by some other state executive of the party while INEC stood its ground that nomination of candidate was an internal arrangement of political parties.
The PDP represented by its National Legal Adviser Chief Olusola Oke had argued that the party did not recognise any other primary election other than the one conducted by Senator Joseph Waku on behalf of the National Working Committee of PDP.
Reacting to the judgment, Senator Igbeke said his lawyer would appeal the judgment at the Supreme Court. He expressed confidence that the truth shall prevail at the end.