Okorocha: Court issues order to INEC
An Owerri High Court has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to issue Governor Rochas Okorocha, the certificate of return for Imo West senatorial election.
The suit with NO HOW/596/2019 was filed by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senatorial candidate for Imo West, Hon Jones Onyeriri against the INEC.
The presiding Judge, Justice E.F. Njemanze, ordered that the status quo be maintained until the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.
The matter was adjourned to June 5, 2019 for hearing.
Last week, a Federal High Court in Abuja, suspended further proceedings on the suit filed against INEC by Okorocha.
The court said its decision was to await the outcome of an appeal filed by the senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the general election, Osita Izunaso.
Izunaso had gone to court to challenge the decision of the High Court to assume jurisdiction over the case Okorocha brought before it.
Izunaso, in his six grounds of appeal, argued that the High Court was wrong when it exercised jurisdiction to join the PDP as a defendant in the suit.
Izunaso contended that the court ought to have firstly determined whether or not it had any jurisdiction to entertain Okorocha’s case, before it proceeded to join other interested parties to the suit.
Izunaso further argued that Justice Abang misapplied the principles in the decision of Inakoju V Adeleke (2007) LPELR-1510 (SC) and order 29 (1)(a) of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure rules 2009, which dealt with a situation where a court is faced with the issue of determining a challenge of its jurisdiction and the hearing of the substantive suit.
Izunaso contended that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to continue with the hearing and determination of any matter relating to the suit, including the application filed by the PDP, without hearing applications challenging its jurisdiction.