Okorocha drags INEC to court

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• Onyereri, Izunaso join suit
Imo State Governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha has dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to a Federal High Court in Abuja.
Okorocha in suit NO: FHC/ABJ/CS/296/2019, asked the Federal Court to compel INEC as the electoral umpire to issue him with a certificate of return as the Senator-elect for Imo West Senatorial District.
The governor in the suit filed by his lawyer, Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN), wants the court to grant an order compelling INEC to issue him a certificate as the validly elected senator.
He argued in the suit that having been declared winner of the election, INEC has no power to withhold his certificate of return.
When the matter came up on Wednesday, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP candidate, Hon. Jones Onyereri and Senator Osita Izunaso of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) applied to be joined.
Nwafor Orizu (SAN) appeared for Izunaso, Emeka Eliaba (SAN) stood in for Onyereri while Mrs. Wendy Kuku represented INEC.
Justice Taiwo who allowed Onyereri and Izunaso to be joined as defendants, directed the plaintiff (Okorocha) to amend the originating processes to reflect the new parties.
The judge also directed the defendants to file and serve their processes within 10 days, while lawyer to the plaintiff file and serve his response within three days.
Justice then adjourned to April 5 for the hearing of all pending applications and the substantive suit.
Okorocha was announced winner of the February 23 senatorial election as candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Imo West Senatorial district.
He was declared winner by the Returning Officer for the election, Prof. Francis Ibeawuchi, having polled 97,762 votes to defeat Jones Onyereri who scored 68,117 votes.
INEC however declined to issue the Imo State governor with a certificate of return on the grounds that the results were announced by its official under duress.

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