6th July, 2011
AÂ Â Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday made an order directing that the Governor of Imo State, Chief Rochas Okorocha, be put on notice over a suit challenging the legality of the May 6, 2011 supplementary election that brought Okorocha into office.
The plaintiff, Mr. Nwokedi Jideofor, had sued the Independent National Election Commission, INEC, but the trial judge, Justice Bilikisu Aliyu ordered him to serve Okorocha with the court process to enable him to defend the case as an interested party whose interest will be affected by the outcome of the case.
The judge said that a pronouncement on the matter would have been made but realised that such could affect the interest of Governor Okorocha.
Mr. Nwokedi had prayed the court for a declaration that the 6th May, 2011 fixed by INEC as the date of the supplementary election into the office of the governor of Imo state was unconstitutional and in violation of the provisions of section 25 (7) and (8) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).
He is seeking for a declaration that holding the said election termed “supplementary Election” is alien to the Electoral Act and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Mr. Nwokedi also sought for a declaration that 27 April, 2011 was the last day limited by the Act and constitution for holding elections into the office of the governor of Imo state and that thirty (30) days before the expiration of the former governor’s tenure falls on the day before 28th May, 2011 the former Governor having been sworn into office on the 29th May, 2007.
He further prayed the court for a declaration that any election by whatsoever description conducted by INEC into the office of the governor outside the period limited by law is unconstitutional and therefore void and of no effect whatsoever.
In the suit entitled FHC/ABJ/CS/471/2011, dated May 4, 2011 and brought through an originating summons, also wants the court to determine “Whether within the intendment of the provisions of Sections (178 (2) and 179 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), election into the office of the governor of Imo state can be extended beyond the limited period of 30 days before the expiration of the tenure of the last holder of that office”.
Justice Bilikisu Aliyu adjourned further hearing into the matter till 21st July.
By Nnamdi Felix / Abuja