From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Supreme Court on Thursday resolved the legal tussle over the authentic candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the Ideato Federal Constituency of Imo State in favour of the spokesperson of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere.
The apex court struck out the appeal filed by a claimant to the ticket, George Igbo for being an academic exercise.
The judgment by the apex court puts to rest, once and for all, the flurry of litigations and schemings from state and non-state actors, to upturn the mandate given to Ikenga by the PDP delegates.
In dismissing the appeal filed by George Igbo, the apex court affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeal which held that the appeal grossly run foul of extant laws and the practice direction.
Justice Rita Pemu, the presiding Justice of the Owerri division of the Court described the appeal as a waste of time and the appellant, as unserious, having deemed to have abandoned his suit until a few days before the end of the litigation window.
Specifically, George Igbo had filed his notice of appeal within 14 days, but he did not compile, transmit and serve his record of appeal within 10 days as required under the practice direction for pre-election matters. Igbo did not also file his brief of argument within 7 days as prescribed by the practice direction.
The Supreme Court held that there must be an end to litigations and recklessness adding that there are no grounds put before it, to nullify the ticket of the party in the custody of Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, having fulfilled all the provisions of the law and complied with stipulated guidelines.
Speaking to one of the counsels in the suit, Ibe Ezenwa, Esq., he said the Presiding Judge struck out the appeal filed by the appellant, George Igbo for being a mere academic exercise.
He said: “Just as his appeal at the Court of Appeal was struck out for being incompetent, having not complied with certain provisions of the law. For instance, at the Court of Appeal, he did not compile his record of appeal or file his brief within the stipulated time. Ikenga Imo then filed a notice of preliminary objection and the Court of Appeal struck out his appeal.”
He noted there is a stipulated time frame for filing appeals and George Igbo and his group waited until it almost elapsed before they filed their application.
Responding to the judgment, an elated Ikenga Ugochinyere described the judgment as a victory for democracy and the good people of Imo State who are now better placed to have a robust representation at the House of Representatives.
He noted that the judgment has removed all impediments and roadblocks on his way to victory at the 2023 polls.