A Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to issue Certificate of Return to Rochas Okorocha as the duly elected Senator representing Orlu Imo West Senatorial district of Imo State.
It would be recalled that Okorocha is seeking a court order to compel INEC to issue him a Certificate of Return.
The immediate past Imo State Governor, by the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/296/2019, asked the court to, among others, compel the electoral umpire to issue him his certificate as the senator-elect for Imo West Senatorial District.
Okorocha maintained that INEC lacked the statutory powers to withhold his certificate because he was validly elected to occupy the senatorial seat.
The former Governor equally wants the court to declare that INEC acted in error when it refused to recognise him as the winner of the senatorial election in Imo West district.
INEC had based its decision to withhold the certificate of return on the grounds that its Returning Officer who presided over the election complained to it that he declared the results under duress.
But the judge, who described INEC’s action as lawless and arbitrary, held in that Okorocha having been declared the winner of the election, INEC no longer had any legal authority to withhold the certificate of return due to him.
The judge held, “Once the declaration is made under section 68(c) of the Electoral Act, INEC has become functus officio and INEC has no lawful authority to withhold the certificate of return for any reason whatsoever.
“Therefore the issue of duress is unknown to both the Electoral Act and the Constitution.”
The court ruled that Okorocha remained elected subject to the outcome of the ongoing proceedings of the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal.
He, therefore, ordered, “INEC shall forthwith publish and circulate the name of the plaintiff as the senator-elect representing Orlu Imo West Senatorial District.
“It is hereby ordered that INEC shall forthwith issue a certificate of return as the senator-elect representing senator-elect representing Orlu Imo West Senatorial District.”
The judge awarded the cost of N200,000 payable by INEC to the plaintiff, and awarded N100,000 payable to the plaintiff by each of the other seven defendants to the plaintiff.
A total of N900,000 cost is to be paid by defendants to Okorocha.
The judge ordered the defendants to pay the costs personally to Okorocha before taking any further steps in the case.
He held that the plaintiff ought not to have applied to be joined in the case, adding that the cost awarded against INEC would serve as a deterrence from taking any future unlawful action.
BREAKING: Supreme Court Rejects Zamfara APC’s Request For Judgment’s Review
The Supreme Court has dismissed the application by the Abdulaziz Yari faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for a review of its May 24, 2019 judgment in the intra-party dispute in the Zamfara APC.
In a majority ruling on Friday, four members of a five-member panel, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, dismissed the application on the grounds that it was without merit.
Justice Inyang Okoro, in the lead judgment, held that the ruling was a gross abuse of the process of the court.
Justice Okoro proceeded to award cost of N2million against the applicant.
In a dissenting judgment, Justice Centus Nweze held that the court ought to have reviewed the judgment by setting aside the consequential order which made the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) the ultimate beneficiary of the intra-party crisis in the Zamfara APC.
Justice Nweze noted that the Supreme Court has reviewed its decision before and should be bold enough to admit where there are errors that ought to be rectified.
He dismissed the objection raised by the respondents, upheld the application and granted the prayers sought.
BREAKING: Bauchi Governor In Self-Isolation After Contact With Atiku’s Son
Bauchi Governor Bala Mohammed is now in self-isolation over fears of contracting coronavirus after his contact with the son of Atiku Abubakar, the state’s Chief of Staff, Ladan Salihu said.
Atiku made a public disclosure via Twitter on Sunday evening about his son testing positive to the pandemic.
Reactions, mostly sympathies, have trailed the announcement since although the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, is yet to acknowledge the development.
Through his Twitter handle this afternoon, Dr. Salihu explained that Governor Mohammed, alongside his entourage, met with the Vice President’s son while on flight from Lagos to Abuja.
He added that they all have also taken test and are expecting the result as at the time of this report.
The tweet reads:
“Our Governor Bala Mohammed in self isolation following contact with Atiku Abubakar’s Son. Yes. We were on the same flight from Lagos to Abuja. They shook hands and exchanged pleasantries. The Gov and the rest of us have taken tests. The results will be negative in sha Allah.”
So far, NCDC has confirmed 36 cases of Coronavirus from Abuja, Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti, and Oyo states and one death.
My Achievements In One Year Will Shock Imo People — Uzodinma
Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, says that he will shock the people of the state with breathtaking achievements in the next 12 months of his administration.
He said that his policies will change the landscape of the state and make the people rejoice over his election as the state governor.
Governor Uzodinma made this solemn promise during a church service in honour of the Auxiliary Bishop of Owerri Archdiocese, Most Rev. Moses Chikwe last Sunday at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church Uzoagba Ikeduru LGA of Imo state.
He asked that people do not judge him by the records of past leaders of the state rather with what he is able to do with his mandate as governor.
“Within the next 12 months, you will see a great difference. My government will shock you with breathtaking achievements that will change Imo State for good,” the governor boasted.
“You will be happy that you elected me your governor and you will know that my mandate is destined by God.”
However, he enjoined the people of the state to give his government all the necessary support, admitting that he cannot succeed without the support of the church and the people.
Concluding, he added that Imo people should see his mandate as one ordained by God and be rest assured that he will not fail them
Meanwhile, he has reassured the people of his government’s readiness to battle the dreaded coronavirus pandemic, asking them not to entertain fear.
The Governor attended the church program in company of his deputy, Prof. Placid Njoku and other government functionaries.
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