The Appeal Panel of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has upheld the disqualification of two aspirants seeking to contest the National Assembly elections in Imo State and reinstated three others earlier disqualified last week from contesting at the party’s primary election by the PDP Screening Committee.
Ikenna Ugochinyere and Uche Odunzeh lost their appeals before the panel while the trio of Tony Abili, Pascal Obi, and Collins Ilo, were eventually cleared.
The three-man panel led by Chisom Nwali with Augustine Osah and Solomon Nahum as secretary and member respectively, announced its decision in its report submitted to the party’s national leadership.
Ugochinyere, the spokesman of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), is aspiring to represent the people of Ideato North/Ideato South Federal Constituency while Odunzeh had declared interest for Orlu/ Our/Our East Federal Constituency of the House of Representatives.
In the report, the panel explained that Ugochinyere’s disqualification by the screening committee bordered on gross misconduct and dual party membership, and the petitioner neither appear before it nor send a letter of defence.
“One must be a member of a political party to contest election in that political party,” the panel resolved.
“The respondent has not shown good cause that the only party he belongs to is the Peoples Democratic Party.
“The panel therefore resolves that the respondent is not cleared to contest for the Ideato North/ Ideato South Federal Constituency (election).”
Giving an update on Odunzeh’s case, the panel said although the aspirant did not appear before it, he sent in a defence to the petition.
According to it, the case of being an ex-convict is a very serious one which the PDP has overtime taken a serious stance on.
“The respondent’s response to the petition carries no weight and having gone through the report by the court of Maryland (the court of first instance) that convicted him, it suffices that the respondent not having a good ground of defence against the petitioner cannot say to have done justice to the petition,” the panel resolved.
It added that its decision to uphold Odunzeh’s disqualification was in line with the provisions of Section 66 (1) (a) of the Nigerian Constitution.