Godwin Tsa, Abuja
After a marathon court session on the Imo State All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial primary tussle, a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), on Wednesday, joined Chief Uche Nwosu, the son-in-law of Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha and delegates of Owerri zone of the party in the suit filed by a factional candidate, Senator Hope Uzodinma.
The proceedings also witnessed a mild drama when two Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) involved in the matter threw decorum to the wind as they engaged in heated verbal argument forcing Justice Oathman Musa to temporarily adjourn proceedings.
Trouble started when tempers flared between the two senior lawyers as to the order in which the proceedings should be conducted.
Uzodinma had last week sought an order of the court directing the APC to forward his name (Uzodinma) to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the gubernatorial candidate for Imo State governorship election for 2019.
He also prayed the court for another order restraining INEC from continuing to process or publish any other person’s name except his as governorship candidate of the APC in the 2019 election. Listed as defendants in the suit are INEC and the APC.
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However, delivering ruling on the ex-parte motion, trial judge, Justice Oathman Musa, sitting in the Bwari Division of the court, ordered the APC and INEC to show cause why Uzodinma’s prayers should not be granted by the court.
When the matter was called on Wednesday, three applicants informed the court of their applications before the court seeking to be joined as parties in the suit.
Meanwhile, Uche Nwosu, son-in-law to Okorocha, who, through his counsel, Chief Niyi Akintola, SAN, sought to be joined in the suit filed by Uzodinma, through another of his lawyer, Kehinde Ogunwumiju, SAN, also sought for the consolidation of all the cases relating to Imo APC governorship primary.
The other applicants seeking to be joined as parties are Okere Uzochukwu and Alozie Okechukwu, who sued for themselves and the APC members who voted for Owerri zone candidates at the APC governorship primary election conducted by the Ahmed Gulak-led Panel, Chitex Ventures Limited and Chima Akuzie.
While Nwosu claimed that as a candidate, he would be affected one way or the other by the court decision on the suit, the Owerri zone claimed the interest of the entire people of Owerri zone would be at risk if they are shut out of the matter.
Their counsel, Kingdom Okere, in arguing their application urged the court to disqualify both Uzodinma and Nwosu on the grounds that they ought not to contest the election on grounds that it is the turn of Owerri zone to produce the next governor.
The third applicant, who was represented by Oluwatosin Ojaomo, however, informed the court that the plaintiff was planning to use his money to contest the forthcoming governorship election, adding that a criminal matter has been instituted against him on alleged issuance of a bounce check of N200 million.
Justice Musa, after listening to the submissions of counsel to parties in the suit, held that the case of Nwosu and delegates of Owerri was meritorious and consequently joined them as parties in the suit.
The judge, however, dismissed the suit filed by Chitex Ventures limited and Chima Akuzie for lacking in merit and an abuse of court process.
The judge, in addition awarded a cost of N20,000 against the applicant.