A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Bwari, Abuja has consolidated two suits filed by Mr. Uche Nwosu and Senator Hope Uzodinma in the dispute arising from the Imo State All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship election primary.
It declined to substitute Nwosu’s name as pleaded by Uzodinma.
Nwosu won the primary conducted by APC-approved panel while Uzodinma was proclaimed winner of the primary conducted by a faction.
Justice Othman Musa adjourned to October 23 for the APC and INEC to show cause why the reliefs sought by Uzodinma in a motion ex-parte, which the court heard on October 9, but declined to grant, should not be granted.
The reliefs include an order directing the APC to forward his name (Uzodimma) to INEC as the party’s governorship candidate for Imo State, and an order restraining INEC from continuing to process or publish any other person’s name, except the name of Uzodinma, as Imo State governorship candidate of the APC in the 2019 election.
The judge also directed that parties in the suit should amend their documents to reflect the names of those make parties yesterday. He also directed that all necessary documents should be filed before the next date.
In his suit, Nwosu sought to compel APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to accept him as the party’s governorship candidate while Uzodinma is seeking a similar request in his suit.
The consolidation, Nwosu’s lawyer, Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN) said, was directed by the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court, Justice Ishaq Bello, upon the request by his (Ogunwumiju’s) client to avoid conflicting judgments, because the cases are on the same issue. Ogunwumiju said his client;s case was earlier before Justice Valentine Ashi before Justice Bello’s directive.
Justice Musa, after consolidating both suits, also granted Nwosu’s application to be made a party in the suit by Uzodinma. Adeniyi Akintola (SAN) argued the application for Nwosu, which wwas not opposed by Uzodinma’s lawyer, Joe Agi (SAN).
Justice Musa also granted another application filed by Okere Uzochukwu and Alozie Okechukwu (for themselves and on behalf of APC members, who voted for Owerri zone candidates at the APC’s governorship election conducted by the Alhaji Ahmed Gulak-led panel).
Lawyer to Uzochukwu and Okechukwu, Mr. Okere Nnamdi, while arguing the application, said his clients were necessary parties to the case because its outcome would affect them.
He said his client’s grouse was that APC’s decision to select its governorship candidate from the same Orlu zone, where Governor Okorocha comes from, violates the constitutional provisions of section 14(4) and 224, which direct that political parties must conduct their affairs to reflect equity and fairness among all.
The judge however rejected the application by and Chitex Ventures limited and Chima Akuzie, whose lawyer, Oluwatosin Ojaomo told the court that Uzodinma was indebted to his clients to the tune of N200million.
Ojaomo, who noted that there was a subsisting arrest warrant issued by an Abuja court against Uzodinma, said he (Uzodinma) was planning to use the N200m owed his clients to contest the forthcoming governorship election/
The lawyer added that a criminal matter had been instituted against Uzodinma for allegedly issuing a dud cheque of N200m to his clients.
The proceedings were held up for about one hour owning to a major disagreement between Akintola and Agi.
At a point, both lawyers were standing and speaking at the same time, thereby occasioning rowdy proceedings.
The hot exchange between the lawyers lasted for some minutes and created a rowdy atmosphere, in the midst of which the judge stood up and went into his chambers.
Other senior lawyers in court, including Damian Dodo, Kenneth Njemanze and Ogunwumiju (all SANs) later intervened and appealed to the feuding lawyers to allow peace to reign.
After successfully reconciling both warring lawyers, the senior lawyers, seven in all, later went to apologise to the judge in his chambers.
When proceedings resumed about one hour later, Dodo apologised to the judge in the open court.
Dodo said: “My Lord, I apologise for the incident that led to the abrupt rising of the court. I undertake that we will not to allow this to happen again.”
The judge accepted the apology and proceeded with the court’s business.