Abuja -The Supreme Court has upheld the election of Tony Nwoye as Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate for the November 16 governorship election in Anambra.
Delivering the judgment, Justice Clara Ogunbiyi held that the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt was right in holding that the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
"After a careful perusal of the record of the court’s proceedings, we so hold that the appellant (Ukachukwu) was given sufficient fair hearing at the Court of Appeal.
"We are equally convinced that the trial court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the case in the first place.
"It is evident from the appeal that the appellant did not challenge the process leading to the election of Nwoye as PDP’s candidate for the November 16 Anambra governorship election.
"The appellant has devoted this appeal to challenging the purportedly non-adherence of the third respondent (Nwoye) to the prompt payment of taxes.
"It has, however, discovered that Ukachukwu failed to prove that Nwoye actually did not pay his taxes as at when due.
"Consequent upon the above, the appeal fails in part and Mr Tony Nwoye is hereby upheld as the valid candidate of the PDP in the forthcoming Anambra governorship election.
"The full reasons for this judgment shall be delivered on Jan. 31’’, she said.
Prince Ukachukwu had through his counsel, Chief Joseph Daudu (SAN), sought the reversal of the decision of the Court of Appeal which upheld the judgment of the trial court.
Daudu had argued that his client was not given fair hearing in the matter, adding that the Court of Appeal’s decision was one-sided.
"The Court of Appeal did not use our brief of argument to arrive at its decision; we were shut out and that is why we have approached the apex court’’, he said.
Daudu had canvassed that the Federal High Court Port Harcourt had the jurisdiction to hear the suit brought against Nwoye by his client.
"At the trial court, we were able to prove that Nwoye failed to comply with the tax law by not paying his taxes as when due in line with the provision of the Electoral Act.
"We urge the court to therefore reverse the decision of the Court of Appeal by staying the execution of its judgment which has bestowed credibility of the nomination of Nwoye as PDP candidate’’, he said.
However, Chief Joe Gadzama (SAN), counsel to the National Chairman of the PDP and the PDP, urged the court to dismiss the argument canvassed by Ukachukwu’s counsel.