By Taiye Agbaje
Abuja, Sept. 29, 2020 The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday, dismissed a suit, asking the court to restrain Gov. Hope Uzodinma as Imo governor.
Justice Okon Abang, who delivered the ruling after taking arguments from counsel to parties, also ordered the award of N500, 000 each in favour of 1st, 2nd and 7th defendants in the matter.
Naija247news reports that Kingdom Okere, Reform and Advancement Party (RAP)’s 2019 Governorship Candidate in Imo had filed a suit asking the court to stop Uzodinma.
While Uzodinma is the 1st defendant in the suit, the governor of Imo, Attorney-General of Imo, All Progressives Congress (APC), Action Alliance (AA), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are 2nd to 7th defendants respectively.
Although all parties were represented at the resumed hearing on Tuesday, only Action Alliance was not represented.
Ifeoma Ogufo, Counsel to Okere, informed the court that she had filed a notice to discontinue the suit and that defendants had been served.
M.A. Aguda, who was counsel to Uzodima, did not oppose the application.
He urged the court to dismiss the suit
However, Aguda, who described the suit as a distraction to his client in steering the ship of the state, asked for an award of N5 million cost against the plaintiff.
Also arguing in the same vein, Counsel to the 2nd defendant, Idris Yakubu, asked for an award of N5 million cost against Okere.
Lawyer to the Attorney General of Imo. J.M. Mathew, though urged the court to dismiss the suit, he did not ask for a cost.
Also, Counsel to the APC, S.M. Igbonna, did not ask for a cost but urged the court to dismiss the notice to discontinue the matter.
Adedamola Falogun, who represented the PDP, also did not ask for a cost and did not oppose the application.
However, Counsel to INEC, Alhassan Umar, SAN, though did not oppose Okere’s intention to withdraw the suit, he asked for an award of N8 million against the plaintiff.
“Although the matter was fixed for hearing today and issues have been joined with the plaintiff in this matter, the plaintiff did not have control of the matter any more,” he said.
But Ogufo, who said she was holding brief n the case, disagreed with the plea for an award of cost against her client.
“We are not conceding to the cost my lord,” she said.
In his ruling, Justice Abang dismissed the suit as prayed for by the plaintiff.
However, the judge held that would take his decision based on the arguments presented before the court by the counsel.
He said not withstanding, the application by the plaintiff, the defendants were entitled to cost in the case.
Abang, who said he agreed with INEC counsel that the application was an issue of the law not of discretion, said: “learner counselor to the plaintiff by her conduct brought the plaintiff to direct confrontation with the law.”
“If the application was properly argued by the counsel, it would have affected the consequential order to be made. Failure to do this is a choice made by her.
“I will take a decision based on the fact placed before me.
“I cannot stand the dust that will be generated in the arena of legal conflict.”
The judge said Aguda noted that the suit was a distraction to his client since the issue had already been decided by the Supreme Court.
He said the defendants were entitled to cost “to serve as deterrent to others; busy body.”
Abang then ordered an award of N500, 000 in favour of 1st, 2nd and 7th defendants.
Naija247news reports that RAP and its 2019 governorship candidate, Mr Okere had, approached the court seeking judicial interpretation on whether the All APC indeed sponsored Mr Uzodinma in the 2019 Imo governorship election.
He said the suit was predicated on the judgment of the Supreme Court which affirmed Uche Nwosu as the duly nominated 2019 Imo governorship candidate of the APC.