The Federal High Court Abuja on Thursday, refused requests by two persons seeking to be joined as fresh parties in a suit filed by Imo Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo over his certificate of return. The trial judge, Justice Okon Abang refused the applications brought by Ozumba Chibuonyem and Ekwutosilam Theophilus by their counsel on the grounds that the application was not yet before the court while the other had yet to be served on all parties. Justice Abang held that both applications were incompetent and struck them out adding that they were brought in bad fate before the court. The judge held that the counsel filed the applications just to delay the matter which had already been fixed for substantive hearing. Moreover, Okorocha’s counsel, Mr Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN) had urged the court to strike out the application on the grounds that he had not been served. The court had also earlier struck out an application filed by Mr Orji Nwafor- Orizu, counsel to the third defendant, Mr Osita Izunaso asking for a stay of proceedings pending the determination of an appeal. The judge struck out the application on the grounds that it was incompetent since the seventh defendant had not been served as at the time the application was moved. Nwafor-Orizu had informed the court that he had filed an appeal against the ruling of the court of May 8 where the court took steps in the matter without first hearing the issue of jurisdiction that was raised. He said that one of the grounds of the appeal was that the trial court erred in law when it ruled that the Peoples Democratic Party could be joined as a party without first hearing the application challenging jurisdiction. The matter has been adjourned until May 17 for continuation of hearing in the substantive matter. Okorocha is in court asking for an order compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue him with a Certificate of Return as the Senator- elect for Imo West Senatorial District. The matter was first assigned to Justice Taiwo Taiwo but following allegations of bias, he recused himself from hearing the matter and returned the case file to the Chief Judge of the court for reassignment.(NAN)


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