Newsflash: Appeal Court stops Soludo

The Appeal Court in Abuja on Friday morning ordered Professor Chukwuma Soludo and the PDP to stop parading the former CBN governor as the party’s gubernatorial candidate in Anambra State’s February 6 election until the substantive suit is determined next December 14. The court was pronouncing during the hearing on a case brought forward to it from an Abuja High Court which had thrown it out for a lack of

A stalwart of the PDP in Anambra State, Mr. Valentine Ozigbo, along with one Mrs. Rose Obi are challenging the propriety of Chukwuma Soludo’s nomination as the gubernatorial candidate of their party in Anambra State.
The High Court which had earlier given an injunction to Soludo to stop parading himself was later to vacate the injunction, saying that it lacked the jurisdiction to pronounce on what it saw as an internal affair of a political party. However, the litigants were not satisfied with that ruling and proceeded to the appeal court where the case is now pending.
The Appeal Court judge was unhappy that the party and its candidate ignored an earlier order it had issued and had gone ahead to launch Professor Soludo’s campaign at Onitsha, Anambra State yesterday, to which Soludo’s lead counsel, Chief Patrick Ikwueto (SAN) replied that his client was not properly served.

The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Tuesday advised the Peoples Democratic Party to suspend campaigning for its governorship candidate in Anambra State, Prof. Charles Soludo.  

The Appeal court said the campaigning would amount to a futile effort in futility as long as the appeal filed by some aggrieved members of the party remained in the court. 

The judge subsequently gave an oral order that Soludo should stop acting as the party’s candidate.
Professor Soludo launched his electioneering campaign before a mammoth crowd at Onitsha on Thursday.

This came as the Tribune reported today that former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) may not participate in the election scheduled for February 6, 2010.

The Nigerian Tribune has learnt that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has dropped his name from the list of governorship candidates nominated by the participating political parties that is due to be released soon.

But the electoral body has apparently given the greenlight to the PDP governorship candidate in the 2007 election in the state, Dr. Andy Uba, to contest the election on the ticket of Labour Party (LP) after his attempt to be named the PDP candidate for the 2010 poll failed.

Investigations revealed that INEC was relying on the existence of a court order reportedly issued by the Appeal Court sitting in Abuja last Tuesday, which purportedly declared that any step taken in furtherance of Professor Soludo’s governorship ambition would be a nullity until an appeal brought before it by some aggrieved members of the party was settled.

National leaders of the PDP, most of whom were in Awka, the Anambra State capital, on Thursday for the take-off of Professor Soludo governorship campaign, were jolted when the news of the possibility of the former apex bank boss being disqualified from contesting the position reached them.

Sources at the PDP national headquarters disclosed to the Nigerian Tribune in Abuja, on Thursday, that they had information that the electoral body had, indeed, finalised the plan to exclude Professor Soludo but that the party would fight any such attempt to deny it the opportunity to be represented in the governorship contest.

When contacted over the story, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Professor Rufai Ahmed Alkali, told the Nigerian Tribune that the members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) had deliberately refrained from engaging in controversy with INEC, even though they had reason to believe that some desperate politicians were trying to influence the electoral body.

According to him, “the PDP NWC has avoided engaging INEC in any controversy. We believe that they are doing their best, as they are working with difficult politicians. But in the recent past, over the past one year or so, we have noticed that each time INEC has the opportunity, it castigates the PDP. We don’t know the reason.”

While neither denying nor confirming the story, he noted that based on a previous Supreme Court judgment in the case of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and the PDP, INEC could not disqualify a candidate nominated by any political party.

“I think desperate politicians are behind what is happening. But I believe that INEC knows its job and would not allow itself to be dragged into dirty politics,” he said.

The party spokesman added that the PDP would resist any attempt by INEC to stop its candidate as he stated that the umpire lacked the authority to do so, saying “in the Supreme Court judgment concerning former Vice-President Abubakar, it ruled that INEC had no power to disqualify any candidate nominated by a party. With that ruling, the PDP does not expect INEC to disqualify our candidate.”