Rochas Foundation

Another judge has withdrawn from a suit filed by the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, seeking an order compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue him a certificate of return as the senator-elect for Imo West.

This is barely a week after the first judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, of the Federal High Court in Abuja, withdrew from the case following allegations of bias levelled against him by two parties to the suit.

It was reassigned to Justice Okon Abang also of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Justice Abang was said to have on April 11 fixed April 18 for hearing in the suit but on the date fixed for the hearing, Justice Abang announced his decision to withdraw from the suit.

His decision was based on Okorocha’s letter to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Adamu Abdu-Kafarati, asking for the transfer of the case to another judge.

The governor, in the letter, sought the transfer of the case to another judge because opponents in the case were jubiliating that Justice Abang would dismiss the case.

The judge, upon seeing the letter, informed parties of his withdrawal from the suit.

Recall that INEC had refused to issue certificate of return to Okorocha on the basis that the Returning Officer for the February 23 election, Prof Francis Ibeawuchi, said he declared the outgoing governor winner of the senatorial election under duress.

Okorocha had subsequently filed the suit, challenging INEC’s decision to withhold the certificate of return due to him as the winner of the election.

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