Ebonyi PDP Crisis: Sacked Ọnụ Approaches Supreme Court, Seeks To Be Reinstated
From Beverly Egwu
The sacked chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) Ebonyi state chapter, Mr. Silas
Ọnụ at weekend approached the Supreme Court appealing the decision of the appeal court that
The appellate court in Abuja on the 15th of August 2022 restored Mr. Tochukwu Okorie as the substantive chairman of the party in Ebonyi where it nullified and set aside the judgment of the Federal High court for lacking jurisdiction to the matter.
Mr. Silas Ọnụ, a former spokesperson of the party, in the notice of appeal, raised two grounds for appeal.
Mr. Ọnụ and Mr. Tochukwu Okorie were the major contestants for the Chairmanship position which was held on October 16, 2021.
Mr. Okorie polled 1,240 votes to defeat Silas Onu, who scored 260 votes in the election.
One had filed a suit challenging the process and listed the PDP and Okorie as first and second defendants, respectively, questioning if Okorie was qualified to contest the election even after he did not submit his nomination form within the stipulated deadline.
Though the Federal High Court in Abuja agreed with him and sacked Tochukwu Okorie Okorie’s mandate was restored in the Appeal court ruling on August 15, 2022.
Mr. Silas in-ground one is arguing that the Court of Appeal erred in law when it assumed jurisdiction over the appeal before it and determined the same.
According to him, the notice of Appeal which commenced the appeal at the appellate Court was a joint Notice of Appeal filed on 22 April 2022 by the Peoples Democratic Party as the 1st Appellant and the instant Respondent, as the 2nd Appellant therein.
“In the course of the Appeal, the Peoples Democratic Party accepted the judgment of the trial Court and elected to
discontinue its appeal”
“The Court below struck out the name of Peoples Democratic Party from the appeal and the Respondent, proceeded to amend the joint Notice of Appeal and the joint Brief of Argument.
“The Respondent filed a new Notice of Appeal dated 4 July 2022 removing the Peoples Democratic Party, who is a party directly affected by the appeal, from the proceeding”, he said.
Mr. Silas insists that the discontinuance of the appeal by the Peoples Democratic Party renders the Joint Notice of Appeal incompetent, and cannot be amended thereafter
“The removal of the Peoples Democratic Party as a party to the appeal altered the original parties to the appeal which is a re-hearing of the proceedings at the trial Court”.
“The lower Court ought to strike out the appeal as it lacked the jurisdiction to make any further Order therefrom as the Notice of Appeal became fundamentally defective and incompetent”.
“The Respondent, in pursuing an appeal has to file his appeal and make the Peoples Democratic Party a Respondent
in the appeal, since it was a necessary party at the trial Court”
“The Respondent’s Notice of Appeal filed on 04 July 2022 and upon which the appeal was heard and determined, is
“The lower Court lacked the jurisdiction to hear and determine the Respondent’s appeal on the defective Joint Notice of
Appeal filed on 22 April 2022, or the Notice of Appeal filed by the Respondent on 04 July 2022”, he arhuwd5.
On ground two, Mr. Onu thinks that the Court of Appeal erred in law and, thus, arrived at a wrong decision when
it held that the matter being an internal affair of the party the trial court should not have entertained it.
According to him, “By Sections 82(1) and (3) of the Electoral Act, 2022 it is clear that the Electoral Act, 2022 emphasizes regulates the activities of political parties by setting a standard within which political parties must conduct their affairs, including congresses and convention”.
“By Section 84 (14) of the Electoral Act, 2022 the Federal High court is conferred with the jurisdiction to hear and determine questions arising from the breach of any provision of the Electoral
Act, 2022; the Constitution of a political party, and Guidelines of a Political Party”.
He opined that the case before the trial Court borders on a complaint about the non-adherence to the guidelines for the conduct of congresses made by the Peoples Democratic Party under its Constitution, and such, Is Justiciable.
He further opined that political parties are bound by law to obey and respect their constitutions, and guidelines made under it.
“It is trite law, as expounded by the Supreme Court in AGI v. PDP
& ORS  LPELR-42518(SC) that a Court will interfere in the affairs of a political party where the party “has violated its constitutional provisions”
“The trial Court established and exercised its jurisdiction upon
ascertaining that the complaint was strictly about the non-adherence by the Peoples Democratic Party with the provisions of its guidelines, which were made under its Constitution.
“It is also trite that where there is a violation of a right, there must
be a remedy. The decision of the Court below has occasioned a miscarriage of justice”, he added.
Mr. Ọnụ is therefore urging the apex court to grant an order allowing his appeal.
He is also seeking an order setting aside the decision of the Court of Appeal entered on 15 August 2022.
Mr. Onu further prayed to the court for an order restoring the decision of the trial Court delivered on 13 April 2022 which declare him as the authentic Chairman of the party in the state.