24th April, 2019
Sen. Sonni Ogbuoji (Ebonyi South senatorial district) has asked the Court of Appeal siting in Enugu to vacate and annul a judgement of a Federal High court declaring his seat vacant.
Ogbuoji, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ebonyi in the March 9 governorship election, was sacked from office by a federal high court sitting in Abakaliki and presided over by Justice Akintoye Aluko on April 16.
Ogbuoji, in the appeal filed by his counsel, Mr Michael Odo, a copy of which was obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) contended that the trial court deliberately over-looked evidences tendered that showed he resigned from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on January 27, 2017.
The appeal with case number CA/E/2019 and filled on April 18, further contended that the trial Judge also ignored evidences that proved that Ogbuoji registered with the APC on Feb. 2, 2017.
The Senator argued that he resigned from his former party at a time it was engulfed in crisis leading to the factionalisation of the PDP between the groups led by Sen. Ahmed Makarfi and that led by Sen. Ali-Modu Sherif.
He said that the crisis was later resolved by the Supreme Court in favour of the group led by Makarfi on July 12, 2017 in a matter known in the Nigeria’s Judicial system as the case of ‘PDP vs Ali-Modu Sherif’.
The embattled senator said that his letter of resignation from PDP was tendered to the appropriate party quarters six months before the supreme court resolved the PDP crisis.
He also contended that he joined the APC six months before the final judgement in the PDP vs Ali-Modu Sherif’s case.
He said that by swarping parties within the time the PDP was embroiled in leadership crisis, that he only expressed his constitutional right to freely join any association and had therefore committed no constitutional breaches.
Ogbuoji also contended that the trial court erred in judgement by over-looking evidences adduced by his counsel on the dates he resigned from the PDP and his registration with the APC.
He said that rather, the court based its judgement in the suit, on the date he formally defected on the floor of the senate as the date of his exit from the PDP.
Ogbuoji in his appeal noted that the trial judge intentionally misled self in the interpretation of section 68 (1)G of the 1999 constitution as amended by taking January 2018 when he defected to the APC at the floor of the senate as the day he joined the APC.
He said that the trial court erred in its judgemnt to have concluded that he left his former party when there was no crisis in the party.