The outgoing Imo state governor, Rochas Okorochas, has filed a suit against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the Federal High Court in Abuja, challenging the authority of the electoral commission to withhold his certificate of return as the senator-elect for Imo West senatorial district.
INEC refused to issue him the certificate of return after the Returning Officer for the February 23rd election, Professor Francis Ibeawuchi, said he announced Okorocha as the winner of the senatorial election “under duress”.
The suit was filed by his counsel, Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN), Okorocha made the plaintiff made INEC the sole defendant in the suit.
However, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, the presiding judge, by the agreement of the counsels involved in the case, made an order permitting Jones Onyeriri, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the election and Senator Osita Izunaso of the All Progressives Grand Alliance to be joined as the 2nd and 3rd defendants. Both candidates of the other parties were represented by their lawyers: Nwafor Orizu for Izunaso, Emeka Etiaba (SAN) for Onyeriri. INEC was represented by Mrs. Wendy Kuku.
Justice Taiwo ordered the defendants to file and exchange their processes within 10 days, while the plaintiff’s counsel was given three days to respond to them.
The case was adjourned till April 5.