Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The legal battle over the Imo West Senatorial ticket has shifted to the Court of Appeal, where Senator Osita Izunaso is challenging the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to adjudicate on the suit filed by Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over his certificate of return.
Besides, Izunaso, who is the third responded in the suit, has asked the appellant court to set aside the ruling of Justice Okon Abang of the Abuja division of the court assuming jurisdiction to hear the case.
In the suit at the trial court, Okorocha, through his counsel, Kehinde Ogunwumiju, (SAN), is seeking the order of the court compelling INEC to issue him with a certificate of return as winner of the senatorial election.
Meantime, proceedings in the case have been adjourned to await the outcome of Izunaso’s appeal.
Justice Abang, who adjourned further proceedings in the matter before him, said he had received the affidavits of facts filed by Izunaso, dated May 20, 2019, regarding the pending appeal.
In the notice of appeal before the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal, dated May 13, 2019, Izunaso is asking the court to set aside the ruling of the Federal High Court on the issue of jurisdiction.
The appeal, which is predicated on six grounds, is also challenging the decision of the trial court to join the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as a defendant in the suit.
Izunaso is contending that the judge erred in law by assuming jurisdiction to continue with the proceedings in court without first of all determining whether the court had jurisdiction to entertain the said suit.