Thursday, April 11, 2019
Judge Withdraws From Okorocha’s Certificate Of Return Suit
Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Wednesday withdrew from a suit filed by the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, seeking an order compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission to issue to him a certificate of return as the senator-elect for the Imo West Senatorial District.
The judge said his decision followed allegation of bias levelled against him by the two parties to the suit.
INEC had refused to issue him the certificate of return on the basis that the Returning Officer for the February 23 election, Prof Francis Ibeawuchi, said he had announced the outgoing governor as winner of the senatorial election under duress.
Okorocha had subsequently filed his suit challenging INEC’s decision to withhold the certificate of return due to him as the winner of the election.
But Justice Taiwo, who had been presiding over the matter, announced his decision to withdraw from the case on Wednesday and ordered that the case file be returned to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Adamu Abdul-Kafarati, for re-assignment to another judge.
The judge said he took the decision following the allegations of bias levelled against him by Okorocha’s opponents in the February 23, 2019 election – Jones Onyeriri of the Peoples Democratic Party and Senator Osita Izunaso of the All Progressives Grand Alliance.