The Appeal Court sitting in Abuja has set aside a high court judgement which truncated the victory of Hon. Chike Okafor (APC) winner of the 2019 Federal House of Representatives election in Okigwe South (Ehime-Mbano /Ihitte Uboma /Obowo), Imo State.
The APC and its candidate, Chike Okafor, had approached the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal to nullify the judgment of the High Court of the FCT that produced ministerial nominee ,Emeka Nwajuba of the Accord Party, as a member of the House of Representatives for Ehime-Mbano/Ihite Uboma/Obowo federal constituency of Imo State.
GROUNDS OF APPEAL
In its seven grounds of appeal filed by his counsel, Roland Otaru (SAN), Okafor ;
1. urged the Court of Appeal to hold that the lower court erred in law in holding that it was functus officio to set aside his order of April 29, 2019, and the entire proceedings in suit No. FCT/HC/CV/423/2018.
2. argued that the decision of April 29, 2019, and the entire proceedings in the suit was a nullity as it was made without jurisdiction adding that a court can never be functus officio to set aside or revisit it’s null order’s.
3. That the refusal to set aside his orders of April 29, as well as the entire proceedings in the suit had occasioned a miscarriage of justice.
4. That he was never made a party to the suit and Mrs. Uzoma Chioma Mary Ann who originated the suit knew that he and not Emeka Nwajuba (3rd respondent) was the candidate of the APC for the Federal constituency seat.
5. That the order made by the judge on April 29, 2019, was against the appellant, who was not a party before the court.
6. The orders made by the court on April 29, 2019, were made without jurisdiction as they were made well outside the 180 days permitted by the 4th alteration to 1999 constitution for the trial court to conclude pre-election matters.
7. The orders were made after the election at a time Emeka Nwajuba who is now the beneficiary, had filed an election petition at the National Assembly Election Tribunal in Owerri challenging the return of the appellant.
The court upheld the appeal, set aside the judgement of the high court of the FCT and reinstated Chike Okafor as the member representing Ehime Mbano , Ihite Uboma and Obowo federal constituency.