June 25, 2015 – Onitsha PDP House Member Godwin Emeka Idu Sacked, Replaced By Lynda Chuba Ikpeazu
Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja Thursday ordered the sack of Emeka Godwin Idu, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member of House of Representatives representing Onitsha North/South Federal Constituency of Anambra State.
The judge also ordered the cancellation of the certificate of return issued him (Idu) by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Justice Ademola’s orders were on a judgment in a suit by Lynda Chuba-Okadigbo, who challenged the decision of the party to substitute her name, already accepted by the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), with that of Idu.
Chuba-Ikpeazu had filed the suit on March 18, 2015, seeking among others to set aside the party’s decision.
The PDP, INEC, the National Working Committee of the PDP and Idu were the defendants in the suit. But INEC did not file any defence in the suit.
Justice Ademola held that the substitution of Chuba-Ikpeazu was wrong because it did not confirm with the requirement under the law.
He held that legitimate substitution can only occur where the original candidate voluntarily withdraws or where he/she dies.
He ordered the Speaker and the Clerk of the National Assembly to swear in Chuba-Ikpeazu as replacement for Idu immediately.
The judge, who held that the plaintiff’s suit succeeds, granted all the prayers sought by the plaintiff.
He held that the substitution of her name with that of Idu violated the provisions of sections 31(2)(j) and 50 of the PDP constitution; sections 31(1)(2) and 33 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended); section 222(c)of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Article 25 (xii) of the Electoral Guidelines for Primary Elections, 2014 of the PDP.
He dismissed the contention of the Idu’s lawyer, Alex Izinyon (SAN) that court had no jurisdiction over the case since it was a pre-election matter that could only be entertained by a state High Court.
Justice Ademola granted four ancillary orders “to meet the justice of the case and give effect to the court’s judgment.
“The plaintiff, Honourable Lynda Chuba-Ikpeazu, is hereby declared as the 1st defendant’s (PDP’s) candidate for the House of Representatives with regard to the Onitsha North/South Federal Constituency.
“It is also declared that the plaintiff, Honourable Lynda Chuba-Ikpeazu, is the honourable member representing Onitsha North/South Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives for this session.
“The 4th defendant, Godwin Emeka Idu, is ordered to vacate that seat in the Federal House of Representatives whilst the certificate of return issued to him is hereby cancelled.
“The 2nd defendant, INEC, is hereby ordered to issue certificate of return to Honourable the rightful member representing Onitsha North/South in the House of Representatives.
“Finally, the Honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Clerk of the National Assembly are ordered to swear in Honourable Lynda Chuba Ikpeazu as member representing Onitsha North/South Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives forthwith,” the judge said.