Fresh Suit to Sack Uzodinma Adjourned to July 20

Fresh Suit to Sack Uzodinma Adjourned to July 20

The Abuja division of the Federal High Court has adjourned to July 20, hearing in the suit filed by Reform and Advancement Party (RAP) and its 2019  Governorship Candidate, Mr Okere Kingdom seeking to remove Imo State Governor, Mr Hope Uzodinma. In its originating processes, RAP and Mr Okere Kingdom are seeking judicial interpretation on

The Abuja division of the Federal High Court has adjourned to July 20, hearing in the suit filed by Reform and Advancement Party (RAP) and its 2019  Governorship Candidate, Mr Okere Kingdom seeking to remove Imo State Governor, Mr Hope Uzodinma.

In its originating processes, RAP and Mr Okere Kingdom are seeking judicial interpretation on whether the All Progressives Congress (APC) indeed sponsored Mr Uzodimma in the 2019 Imo governorship election.

The plaintiffs predicated the action on the judgment of the Supreme Court, which affirmed Uche Nwosu as the duly nominated 2019 Imo governorship candidate of the APC.

Kingdom said that one of the issues he wanted the court to determine was whether Uzodimma lawfully participated and was sponsored by the APC to contest the 2019 Imo governorship election in accordance with Section 177 (c) of the 1999 Constitution.

“This is having regard to the tenor, clear and unambiguous legal implications/consequences of the judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in appeal no: SC/1384/2019 which upheld the decision of both the Court of Appeal and the Federal High Court and affirmed Uche Nwosu as the authentic and duly elected/nominated 2019 Imo State  governorship candidate of the APC.”

When the matter came up on Thursday, Kingdom informed the court of his application for an abridgment of the time within which the defendants would file their responses.

Under the rule of law, the defendants have 30 days to respond but the plaintiff told the court that he made the application for the court to abridge the time due to the urgency of the matter.

Kingdom, who is also a lawyer, maintained that the matter was of constitutional importance because Uzodimma was occupying the seat of Imo governor illegally, having not participated in the 2019 election as a candidate of any political party.

He specifically, asked for an order abridging the time within which the plaintiffs/applicants may file their replies to five days from the date of service of such processes on them.

An order abridging the time within which the defendants/respondents may file their counter affidavit and written addresses in opposition to the originating summons, and every other application(s) they may wish to file to seven days from the date of granting the application. The application was rooted on the grounds that “the suit is of extreme national importance and borders on the interpretation of the constitution to determine if the 1st defendant is lawfully occupying the office of the Governor of Imo State.

“That the continued unlawful occupation of the office of the 2nd defendant and performing the functions of the office by the 1st defendant is a matter that demands serious and urgent  constitutional interpretation. That it is the duty of this Honourable Court to speedily interpret the sections of the constitution sought for interpretation in this suit.”

All the defendants raised objection to the application on the grounds that they needed the time given by the constitution to respond. Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr Alhassan Umar, SAN, told the court that in line with the principles of fair hearing, the defendants needed to take sufficient time as allocated by the law to respond.

He argued that the plaintiff could not take the required time to file his processes only to ask the court to abridge the time for the respondents. The Judge, Justice Okon Abang adjourned the matter to July 20 to hear the application. Earlier, Abang directed that hearing notices  should be served on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since the party was not represented in court.

Mr. Kingdom had approached the Abuja division of the Federal High court for a judicial interpretation on whether the All Progressives congress (APC) actually sponsored Governor Hope Uzodinma as its candidate for the said election.

The plaintiffs are specifically asking the court to order the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Governor Uzodinma and to issue a fresh one to the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Emeka Ihedioha as the validly elected governor of the state.

The suit is predicted against the backdrop of the judgment of the Supreme Court in appeal no:  SC/1384/2019 which upheld the decision of both the Court of Appeal and the Federal High Court and affirmed Mr Ugwumba Uche Nwosu as the authentic and duly elected/nominated 2019 Imo State governorship candidate of the APC.

In an originating summons dated and filed on June 25, 2020, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/677/2020, the plaintiffs formulated the following questions for determination,

“Whether the 1st defendant (Uzodinma) lawfully participated and was sponsored by the 4th defendant (APC),  to contest the 2019 Imo State governorship election in accordance with section 177 (c) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; having regard to the tenor, clear and  unambiguous legal implications/consequences of the judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in appeal no: SC/1384/2019 which upheld the decision of both the Court of Appeal and the Federal High Court and affirmed Ugwumba Uche Nwosu as the authentic and duly elected/nominated 2019 Imo State governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress  (4th Defendant), and which decision also nullified Uche Nwosu and the 4th defendant’s participation in the 2019 Imo State Governorship election on the ground that he (Ugwumba Uche Nwosu) was nominated by both the 4th  defendant and Action Alliance (5th defendant) for the same governorship election.

“Whether the All Progressives Congress (4th defendant)  lawfully  participated and sponsored a candidate in the 2019 Imo State Governorship election,  having regard to the tenor, clear and  unambiguous  legal implications/consequences of the judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in appeal no:  SC/1384/2019 which upheld the decision of both the Court of Appeal and the Federal High Court and affirmed Ugwumba Uche Nwosu as the authentic and duly elected/nominated 2019 Imo State  governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress  (4th Defendant); and which decision also nullified Uche Nwosu and the 4th defendant’s participation in the 2019 Imo State Governorship election on the ground that he (Ugwumba Uche Nwosu) was nominated by both the 4th defendant and Action Alliance (5th defendant) for the same  governorship election.

“Whether section 177 (c) the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has been amended, altered or suspended to enable and allow the 1st Defendant participate in the 2019 Imo State Governorship election as an independent candidate; in view of the decision of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in SC/1384/2019 which upheld Ugwumba Uche Nwosu as duly elected and nominated 2019 Imo State governorship candidate of the 4th defendant.

In case the above questions are answered in the affirmative, the plaintiffs are among others praying the court to “declare that Uzodinma did not lawfully participate and was not  sponsored by the 4th defendant to contest the 2019 Imo State Governorship election in accordance with Section 177 (c) of the 1999 Constitution of the  Federal Republic of Nigeria; having regard to the tenor, clear and unambiguous legal implications/consequences of the judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in appeal no:  SC/1384/2019 which upheld the decision of both the Court of Appeal and the Federal High Court  and  affirmed  Ugwumba Uche Nwosu as the authentic and duly elected/nominated 2019 Imo State governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (4th Defendant); and which decision also nullified Uche Nwosu and the 4th defendant’s participation in the 2019 Imo State Governorship election on the ground that he (Ugwumba Uche Nwosu) was nominated by both the 4th  defendant and Action Alliance (5th defendant) for the same governorship election.

“A declaration that the All Progressives Congress (4th defendant) did not lawfully participate  and sponsor any candidate in the 2019 Imo State Governorship election; having regard to the tenor, clear and unambiguous legal implications/consequences of the judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in appeal no:  SC/1384/2019 which upheld the decision of both the Court of Appeal and the Federal High Court  and  affirmed  Ugwumba Uche Nwosu as the authentic and duly elected/nominated 2019 Imo State governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress  (4th Defendant); and which decision also nullified Uche Nwosu and the 4th defendant’s participation in the 2019 Imo State Governorship election on the ground that he (Ugwumba Uche Nwosu) was nominated by both the 4th  defendant and  Action Alliance (5th defendant) for the same  governorship election.

”A declaration that section 177 (c) the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria HAS NOT been amended, altered or suspended to enable and allow the 1st Defendant participate in the  2019 Imo State Governorship election as an independent; in view  of the decision of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in SC/1384/2019 which upheld Ugwumba Uche Nwosu as duly elected and nominated 2019 Imo State governorship candidate of the 4th defendant.

The plaintiffs wants an order of perpetual injunction restraining the 1st Defendant from continuous occupying, illegally acting and performing the functions of the office of the Governor of Imo State (2nd defendant) on the ground that he was not the governorship candidate of the 4th  defendant and did not participate in the 2019 Imo state Governorship election.

An order mandating and or compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission (7th defendant) to immediately withdraw the certificate of return issued to the 1st defendant and reissue same to the candidate of the 6th defendant who lawfully participated and scored the highest number of lawful votes cast in the 2019 Imo governorship election and who was sponsored by the 6th defendant in accordance with section 177 (c) of the 1999 constitution.

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