A Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue a certificate of return to Rochas Okorocha, as Senator-elect for Imo West Senatorial Constituency.
Delivering his ruling, Justice Okon Abang, held that the having been declared by the Returning Officer because the winner of the Feb. 23 Imo West Senatorial, INEC had no motive not to issue him certificate of return.
The Judge, nonetheless, overruled the submission by candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Jones Onyeriri and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Osita Izunaso that the matter ought to be taken to the election petitions tribunal because it was a post-election matter.
The decide held that petitions to the election tribunal beneath Section 133 of the Electoral Act must be made by the losers, and never the individual declared winner and never an individual that was declared winner whether or not beneath duress or not.
“The reliefs sought by the plaintiff (Okorocha) doesn’t relate to the validity of the election to warrant him submitting petitions on the election tribunal.
“The tribunal has no jurisdiction to answer questions as to the validity of INEC’s action, the action by INEC not to issue certificate of return is unknown to the Constitution and the Electoral Act,” the Judge mentioned.
The Judge additionally awarded the associated fee of N100, 000 every towards all of the respondents within the suit.
Meanwhile, candidate of the PDP, Mr Onyeriri mentioned he had already filed a petition relating to this matter earlier than the election petitions tribunal.
According Onyeriri, he’s assured of victory on the tribunal.
Speaking outdoors the court, Mr Kingdom Okere, Counsel to the candidate of the United Progressive Party (UPP), Mr Precious Nwadike, vowed to appeal towards the judgment of Justice Abang.
He described the judgment as ”empowerment of illegality to recognise candidates who makes use of thugs throughout elections.
According to Okere, such a judgment is succesful of holding electoral officers to ransom to win election.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reviews that respondents queried the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit filed by Okorocha on the bottom that it was a publish election matter.
They maintained that it was a post-election matter and it robbed the court of jurisdiction beneath sections 285, 251(1) of the 1999 Constitution.
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