Abuja - The Supreme Court on Friday held that the Court of Appeal was wrong in joining former Imo governor Ikedi Ohakim as a party in the suit brought by Senator Ifeanyi Ararume.
Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo had challenged the joining of Ohakim as a party in the suit.
The apex court, in a unanimous judgment, held that the Appeal Court was wrong in granting leave to join the People’s Democratic Party candidate, Ohakim, in the appeal.
Niyi Akintola, Okorocha’s counsel, had in his appeal application joined as first respondents, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and Ohakim, in the suit.
Others are the Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN), and its candidate, Ifeanyi Ararume, who had earlier challenged Okorocha’s election up to the Supreme Court and lost as second and third respondents, respectively.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, served as fourth and fifth respondents, respectively.
Delivering judgment, Justice Clara Ogunbiyi, who led five other justices of the Supreme Court, overturned the ruling of the Court of Appeal, describing it as “an abuse of court process”.
Ogunbiyi also awarded a cost of N100 000 against each of the first, third and fourth respondents in the matter.
“The ruling of the Court of Appeal, Owerri Judicial Division, delivered on October 19, 2012, is hereby set aside as an abuse of court process.
“The two issues are resolved in favour of the appellant and the appeal in the circumstance is allowed.
“I make an order of N100 000 fine in favour of the appellant against each of the 1st, 3rd and 4th respondents,’’ Ogunbiyi said.
The court described the leave granted by the Appeal Court to the respondents as tantamount to abuse and attempts to re-litigate a case that had been decided by the Supreme Court.