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PDP Floors Okorocha's APGA Again

PDP Floors Okorocha's APGA Again

AN Orlu High Court in Imo State, Eastern Nigeria, has washed its hands off the application seeking to prevent the swearing-in of Chief Eugene Dibiagwu, as a member-elect of the state House of Assembly, for Oguta Constituency by the House Speaker.

Governor Rochas Okorocha, is the leader of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in the state.

Justice K.A. Orjiako, was however, ruling on a motion brought before him by Mr Walter Uzonwanne, the defeated candidate of ruling APGA. The ruling party was praying the courtto put on hold seeking that Dibiagwu’s swearing-in.

But Justice Orjiako, ruled that his court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain such a post-election matter.

''Section 285 of 1999 Constitution as amended and Section 133 of 2010 Electoral Act as amended allows only Election Tribunal to handle post-election matters'', the court said.

After reviewing arguments by counsels in the matter, Orjiako maintained that issues canvassed in the application before him were matters that occurred after the conduct of Oguta constituency election.

Dibiagwu, candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had after been declared winner of Aug.11, 2012 fresh election in Oguta, received certificate of returns from INEC and was later refused been sworn-in on two occasions by Mr Ben Uwajimogu, the Speaker of Imo House of Assembly.

One Justice Ngozi Opara, a vacation judge in Owerri had earlier played into the hands of Okorocha by accepting to order that Dibiagwu’s swearing-in be put on hold even when he was unable to entertain debates from parties a forth night ago.

Opera however referred the application to the Chief Judge for re-assignment leading to the transfer of the matter to Orjiako in Orlu.

But when the matter came up for ruling on Friday, Justice Orjiako told the parties that it was an aberration for an High Court to assume jurisdiction on post-election matters , noting that his court lacked the powers to entertain the application restraining Imo Speaker from swearing-in Dibiagwu.

He stated that the all the cases cited by the plaintiff’s counsel were off the track when placed side-by-side section 285 of the 1999 Nigeria Constitution as amended and section 133 of the 2010 Electoral Law as amended.

The judge ordered that the respondent be sworn-in immediate by the Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly while the plaintiff approach relevant court an perceived grievance emanating from the conduct of the Oguta Constituency election. ENDS

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