BY Bolanle Olabimtan
The supreme court has affirmed Chukwuma Soludo, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for the November 6 election in Anambra state.
The five-member panel of justices led by Mary Peter-Odili also affirmed Victor Oye as the national chairman of the party.
APGA has been plagued by internal crisis which led to two factions producing candidates for the Anambra governorship election –Soludo from Oye’s faction and Michael Umeoji from Jude Okeke’s faction.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had earlier picked Umeoji as the party’s candidate following two different court judgments by Musa Ubale, judge of a high court in Jigawa state (who upheld the suspension of Oye as national chairman) and Bello Kawu, a judge of the federal capital territory (FCT) who ordered INEC to monitor the primary election of the Okeke faction and comply with the result.
However, a court of appeal sitting in Kano on August 10 affirmed Oye as national chairman of APGA — meaning the return of Soludo as the governorship candidate.
Aggrieved by the judgment of the Kano appeal court, Edozie Njoku and Chinedu Okoro, both chieftains of the party, filed an appeal before the Abuja division, asking that the ruling be set aside.
Ruling on the appeal marked CA/AW/256/2021, filed against Sylvester Ezeokenwa and five other party chieftains, the Abuja division of the appeal court held that the suit constituted an abuse of judicial process.
In a unanimous decision read by Jummai Sankey, the appeal court held that it was bound by the doctrine of ‘stare decisis’, a Latin phrase which means ”let the decision stand”, adding that setting aside the ruling of the Kano division will amount to questioning its own judgment.
The panel of three, led by Monica Dongban-Mensem, president of the court, also said the Abuja division lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
The sum of N10 million naira was also awarded against the appellants in favour of Ezeokenwa and APGA.
The matter was further appealed to the supreme court.
In its judgment, the apex court unanimously upheld the judgment of the Kano state appeal court division which validated the primary election that produced Soludo.
According to the supreme court, the appellate court was right when it quashed a Jigawa state high court judgment that recognised a parallel primary election that was conducted by the Okeke-led faction of APGA.