Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Reform and Advancement Party (RAP) and its 2019 governorship candidate, Mr Okere Kingdom, has announced the withdrawal of a suit challenging the emergence of Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State.
The suit had been pending before Justice Okon Abang of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court.
Following the withdrawal, the suit will now be outrightly struck out by the court.
In a statement entitled “Why we withdraw the case at Federal High Court”, the party explained that its decision was based on the fact that the subject matter was now properly before the Supreme Court.
It reads: ‘The Reform and Advancement Party (RAP) and its 2019 governorship candidate, Barr. Okere Kingdom has formally withdrew the case (SUIT NO: FHC/ABJ/CS/677/2020) before the Federal High Court Abuja seeking judicial interpretation over the decision of Supreme Court of Nigeria in appeal no: SC/1384/2019 which upheld Ugwumba Uche Nwosu as duly elected and nominated 2019 Imo State governorship candidate of the all progressives congress.’
The statement, which was signed by Okere Kingdom, said: ‘The reason for the withdrawal is because the matter is now properly before the Supreme Court of Nigeria in an application brought by the Peoples Democratic Party. All the issues we canvassed before the Federal High Court also being canvassed at the Supreme Court and the two cases are seeking similar reliefs, and could therefore amount to an abuse of court process and capable to jeopardize the pending matter before the Supreme Court. The case is still alive at the Supreme Court which is the highest court in the land.
‘Initially, when we filed the suit, people called us names and alleged that Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha gave us money to institute the action. Now rumour mongers are also peddling rumours that Governor Hope Uzodinma has induced us to withdraw the suit. All these baseless allegations we do not intend to respond, but to remain focus in pursuit of justice.’
In its originating processes, RAP and its 2019 governorship candidate, Mr Okere Kingdom, are seeking judicial interpretation on whether the All Progressives Congress (APC) indeed sponsored Gov. Uzodinma in the 2019 Imo governorship election.
The plaintiffs predicated the action on the judgment of the Supreme Court which affirmed Uche Nwosu as the duly nominated 2019 Imo governorship candidate of the APC.
Kingdom said that 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/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.
Kingdom, a lawyer, had maintained that the matter was of constitutional importance because Uzodinma was occupying the seat of Imo Governor illegally, having not participated in the 2019 election as a candidate of any political party.
He specifically, asked for an order a abridging the time within which the plaintiffs/applicants may file their replies to five days from the date of service of such processes on them.
An order abridging the time within which the defendants/respondents may file their counter affidavit and written addresses in opposition to the originating summons, and every other application(s) they may wish to file to seven days from the date of granting this application.
The application was rooted on the grounds that “the suit is of extreme national importance and borders on the interpretation of the constitution to determine if the 1st defendant is lawfully occupying the office of the Governor of Imo State.
‘That the continued unlawful occupation of the office of the 2nd defendant and performing the functions of the office by the 1st defendant is a matter that demands serious and urgent constitutional interpretation.
‘That it is the duty of this Honourable Court to speedily interpret the sections of the constitution sought for interpretation in this suit.’