By Olalekan Awojodu
The Federal High Court Abuja, Tuesday, dismissed with cost, a suit filed by Reform and Advancement Party (RAP) and its candidate in the 2019 Imo state gubernatorial election, Okere Kingdom, seeking the removal of Governor Hope Uzodinma from office.
In a suit filed in July, RAP and Okere asked the court to restrain Uzodinma from acting as Imo state governor.
According to Okere, a lawyer, the matter was of constitutional importance because Uzodinma, according to him , is occupying the seat of Imo governor illegally, having not participated in the 2019 election as a candidate of any political party.
Recall that the plaintiffs are in court to seek judicial interpretation on whether the All Progressives Congress (APC) indeed sponsored Uzodinma in the 2019 Imo governorship election.
RAP it would be recalled brought an application dated September 24, 2020, for withdrawal of the suit, seeking the court to make a consequential order striking out the suit.
But defence lawyers M.A. Aguma, Idris Yakubu and Hassan Umar (SAN), appearing for Governor Uzodinma, the Governor of Imo State, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) respectively asked for cost of N8 million and N5 million for the expenses incurred in joining issues in the suit.
While dismissing the suit, the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang awarded the sum of N500, 000 in favour of Uzodinma, the office of the governor and INEC. “The justice of the case demands that they be given cost”, the judge ruled.
He added: “Having filed counter affidavit and objections filed and served, and then the plaintiff decides to withdraw the suit that is weak and manifestly unsupportable.
“The Supreme Court has decided on the subject matter in this suit, the consequential order to be made is the order dismissing this suit. I so hold.”
Okere predicated his suit on the judgment of the Supreme Court which had affirmed Uche Nwosu as the duly nominated 2019 Imo governorship candidate of the APC.
One of the issues he wanted the court to determine was whether Uzodinma 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.” Okere told the court.