From Kayode Lawal Abuja
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court Abuja, on Tuesday, dismissed with cost, a suit filed by Reform and Advancement Party (RAP) and its governorship candidate in the 2019 Imo state gubernatorial election, Barrister Okere Kingdom seeking the removal of Governor Hope Uzodinma from office.
The party and Okere asked the court to restrain Uzodimma from acting as Imo state governor.
Okere, a lawyer had argued that the matter was of constitutional importance because Uzodinma, according to himbri , is occupying the seat of Imo governor illegally, having not participated in the 2019 election as a candidate of any political party.
Specifically, the plaintiffs sought judicial interpretation on whether the All Progressives Congress (APC) indeed sponsored Uzodinma in the 2019 Imo governorship election.
However, on Tuesday, RAP brought an application dated 24th September, 2020, for withdrawal of the suit.
But defence lawyers Matthew Aguma, Idris Yakubu and Hassan Umar (SAN), appearing for governor Uzodinma, the Govermor of Imo State, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) respectively asked for cost of N8M and N5M for the expenses incurred in joining issues in the suit.
In dismissing the suit, 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.
“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 and 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.