An Abuja Federal High court Presided over by Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo, had on Friday, April 5, 2019 over ruled Rochas Okorocha’s lead counsel, Mr Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN), who had opposed the joinder application brought forward by the United Progressive Party (UPP) Candidate for Imo West Senatorial District, Comrade Precious Nwadike through his lawyer, Barr Kingdom Okere.
Earlier, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Hon Jones Onyeriri ,All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) Candidate, Senator Osita Izunaso and two others had been joined. In their separate submissions, their counsels opposed governor Okorocha’s prayer for an injunction mandating Independent National electoral Commission (INEC) to issue him certificate of return.
The joinder application filed by the UPP Imo West Senatorial candidate also seeks to have governor Rochas Okorocha punished for allegedly committing electoral fraud rather than issue him certificate of return.
The Judge in his ruling, held that there was no reason to oppose Nwadike’s application as the applicant duly contested the election and deserves the right to be heard. He gave the plaintiff two hours to file his defense and serve the applicant while adjourning the case to next week Tuesday, April 16, 2019.
Meanwhile, all the parties that were added as 2nd to 7th Defendants in the matter, notified the court that they would file preliminary objections to challenge the competence of Okorocha’s suit. Likewise, INEC through its lawyer, Mrs. Wendy Kuku, also queried the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit which it argued raised post-election issues.
Addressing Newsmen shortly after the courts proceedings in Abuja, Barr Kingdom Okere stated that the plaintiff has no moral justification to ask for Certificate of return. He argued that his client has suffered losses owing to the scuttling of the electoral process in which he would have won the election.
It will be recalled that the outgoing governor, Rochas Okorocha was accused by the Returning Officer, Prof Francis Ibeawuchi of holding him hostage and causing him to declare the senatorial result in his favour which he did under duress.