Senate: Why PDP screening panel disqualified Ozigbo, others

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The Peoples Democratic Party has disqualified its candidate at the 2021 Anambra State governorship election, Mr Valentine Ozigbo, from contesting the Anambra South Senatorial District.

The report of the five-man screening committee headed by Mr Udeh Okoye said the three senatorial aspirants were screened out for varying reasons out of the nine that were screened.

The committee report which was made available to journalists obtained by our correspondent on Sunday indicated that Ozigbo was disqualified for submitting his nomination form out of the stipulated time.

Also disqualified were Chief Chuma Nzeribe and Obinna Uzoh while those who were cleared were Chief Chris Ubah, Senator Stella Oduah, Ezebiakwa Peace, Tony Nwoye, John Emeka and Uche Ekwunife.

According to the committee, consideration has been given to the documentation presented to the committee by Ozigbo.

It said, “Ozigbo told the committee that he was awaiting the Supreme Court Judgment in SC/CV/240/2022 and SC /CV/241/2022, that if the Supreme Court annuls the election he would become the Governor.
“On that basis, he concluded that there would be no need to submit the Senatorial form within the specified time, on April 27, the Supreme Court upheld the contemplated litigation.

“Unfortunately, by the time he submitted the Form, he was already out of time,” it stated.
On Obinna Uzoh, a businessman and former governorship aspirant, the screening committee said he lied under oath and attempted to mislead the party by declaring that he had not had court case(s) in his form.

The party said there were petitions written against him and that he deliberately misinformed or lied to the Party in his Nomination Form.

It said, “At column 12 of the nomination form, the question was asked if he had ever been tried by any court of law and he answered in the negative, suggesting that he had never been tried by any court of law.
“We have in our possession, a charge before the Federal High Court Abuja, in charge No, FHC/ABJ/CR/78/2020, between FRN v. Eziafa Samuel Enwedo & Obinna Uzoh.

“The above shows that the aspirant deliberately failed to disclose the facts of this charge, his arraignment and trial.
“He was asked if he had been indicted by a Court or Tribunal.
He answered in the negative, but facts available show that he was admitted to bail. July 7 July 2020 by Hon. Justice O.E Abang,” it stated.

The report of the screening committee also said Nzeribe, a former senator was disqualified on the grounds of being declared wanted by existing court order and denial that he had not been tried by any court of law.

According to the party, we have in our possession, a Court Order in Charge No. CR/791/2020, between FRN v. Hon. Chuma Nzeribe, before Hon. Justice Y. Halilu. On 17th December 2020.

It stated, “Hon. Chuman Nzeribe was admitted to bail, after he pleaded not guilty to the charges on 16th December 2020, he subsequently breached the bail terms and jumped bail.

“This necessitated the Court on 21 March 2022 to make the Orders under reference, to wit: “that the bail of the accused person (Hon. Chuma Nzeribe) has been abused and breached as it related to the conditions.

“The said bail being contractual between the court and the accused person having been breached, is hereby revoked, Bench Warrant is hereby issued against the said Hon. Chuma Nzeribe for his arrest.

“The above orders showed that the Hon. Nzeribe Chukwumaeze Marcellinus is a wanted fellow, against whom a Bench Warrant has been issued, for his arrest.”

Other members of the committee included Dr Angela Mba, Dr. Innocent Nwankwo Alhaji Rukayat Ibrahim and Mr Eddy Izondu who served as Secretary.

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