The battle to authenticate true lawmakers represented Anambra state is far from over as one of the lawyers to Senators Andy Uba, Stella Oduah, and other members representing Anambra state in the House of Representatives, Chief Arthur Okafor (SAN) said that the weekend’s ruling by the Supreme Court did not, in any way, affect the validity of his clients’ elections into the National Assembly.
The legislators had also clarified the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), that the apex court judgment did not vitiate their elections, even as they insisted that the primaries that produced them as candidates for the 2015 general elections was conducted by the National Secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as required by law and not the Anambra state chapter of the PDP as being insinuated.
Okafor maintained that the judgement favoured the status quo, but was misinterpreted by a section of the media, noting “excerpts of the judgment obtained weekend indicate that no such ruling or order was given by the apex court.”
According to the certified true copy of the judgment obtained by our correspondent, the court in a ruling by Justice John Inyang Okoro held that the Appeal Court erred in law, “…the court below misconceived the real issue as there was no controversy as to which organ of the 1st respondent (PDP) has power to conduct primaries.”
He said: “The main issue was that stated by the learned trial judge, that is, whether the 1st respondent can ignore the subsisting order of court and set up a caretaker committee for Anambra state PDP in brazen contempt of the court.”
Okafor cited two judgments of the Supreme Court to support his argument that the lawmakers were not removed by the judgment. “In two remarkable pronouncements, the Supreme Court of Nigeria eloquently held that no list other than that forwarded by the national executive of the PDP shall be countenanced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“In Emeka v. Okadigbo (2012) 18 NWLR (Part 1331) 55 at 87 Paras H-C the court held thus: ‘A diligent reading of the above reveals that it is the National Executive Committee of the PDP that is responsible for the conduct of the party’s National Assembly primaries. The Court of Appeal was correct. There can only be one valid primary and that is the primaries conducted by the National Executive Committee (NEC).
“A primary conducted by the State Chapter of the PDP is not a primary. It is an illegal contraption that carries with it no rights. It is a complete nullity. The primary conducted on the 8th of January, 2011 was conducted by the National Executive Committee of the PDP, and it was the only authentic primaries conducted by the PDP to choose its candidate for the Anambra North Senatorial Seat.”