Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha has won a major victory at the court room over ward and local government congresses in the state as a Federal High Court sitting in Owerri, the state capital Thursday nullified the congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The presiding Judge, Justice Lewis Allagoa, in his ruling Thursday, held that the APC ward and local government congresses, organised by Okorocha’s opponents, were never held in the state in the first place.
He therefore ordered the party to conduct fresh ward congresses in the state in line with the guidelines of the party, “they should go back and conduct fresh Congresses in accordance with the constitutions of the party; they should be responsible and save our democracy.”
The congresses had been hotly disputed by Okorocha, who accused former National Organising Secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso, of manipulating the congresses to discredit him (Governor).
Okorocha’s loyalists had gone to court to challenge the congresses.
The Judge observed that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which is the body mandated by the Electoral Act to supervise primaries and Congresses of political parties in their report attached as exhibit by the plaintiffs, affirmed that the APC congresses were not held in the state.
Justice Allagoa dismissed the argument of counsel to the defendants that the plaintiffs lacked the locus standi to challenge the conduct of the ward congresses in the state.
He ruled that the plaintiffs having established the fact that they are members of the party and ward chairmen have the locus standi to challenge the outcome of the ward congresses.
Justice Allagoa in also dismissed the argument by counsel to the second and eight defendant, Kelvin Nwufor (SAN) that the plaintiffs did not get leave of court to serve the defendants outside the jurisdiction of the court, stating that the Federal High has one jurisdiction.
He therefore granted the plaintiffs’ prayers that the Court declare as null and void results purported to have emanated from APC ward congress in the state as the congress never held across the state.
The plaintiffs who are APC ward chairmen in the originating summon in the suit with suit no. FHC/OW/CS/69/2018 had prayed the court among other reliefs to issue an order of injunction restraining the defendants by themselves, agents, or privies from announcing or declaring or making reference to non-existing results of the ward congress purportedly claimed to have been released by them as results of the inconclusive ward congress.”
The defendants in the suit include the immediate past APC National Organising Secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso, the State Chairman of the party, Chief Hilary Eke, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and others.