Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri, the Imo State capital, has struck out the appeal filed by the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2015 general elections, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, challenging the earlier dismissal of his petition by the state Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in the state.
Delivering Judgement yesterday, Chairman of the Appeal Panel, Hon. Justice Jimmy Bada, dismissed the appeal on grounds of improper service of summons on the respondents, whose addresses were not properly listed.
Declaring that the issue of service is fundamental in law and the rules of the Court of Appeal, the judge therefore struck out the case for lack of merit.
Reacting to the judgment, counsel to the appellant, Chief Mike Ahamba, SAN, said “we referred to the provision of the law and rules that say that the addresses of those directly affected should be listed in the appeal.
“I have done appeals in the past but I am surprised that the rule is different in election matters. We had a good ground for appeal but for the shortcoming in the service, the substantive matter is still in our favour. We are not done yet, we still have another tier to go.”
In his reaction, counsel to the Imo State Governor and the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Miletus Nnebedim, asserted that the Court of Appeal found the PDP candidate’s appeal incompetent because it did not comply with the requirements of the appellate court rules.
He remarked that the court thoroughly has reviewed the appeal filed by the PDP and saw that it lacked merit.
Also reacting, Governor Rochas Okorocha commended the appellate court for upholding the ruling of the tribunal, saying, “the judgment has justified his ‘stiff’ confidence in the ability of the Judiciary to uphold Justice and also “respect the popular and lawful actions of the people over who would govern them at any given time.”
In a statement signed by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, he commended Ihedioha for exercising his fundamental rights, pointing out that his legal actions have helped “to strengthen our democracy.”
He further appealed to Ihedioha to join hands with him and other well-meaning Imo indigenes to work for the rapid development of the state.
Continuing, he added, “it is the wish of the Governor that the issue of who won or who lost the 2015 election in the state should be kept behind, while all Imo people, irrespective of their political affiliations should be part of the administration aimed at building a state of our collective dream”.
In a swift reaction, Chief Ihedioha, who is the immediate past Speaker of the House of Representatives, noted with reservations the decision of the Court of Appeal in Owerri to strike out his appeal challenging the ruling of the tribunal.
In a statement by Mr Chibuike Onyeukwu, media assistant to Chief Ihedioha, he therefore directed his counsels to approach the Supreme Court and seek redress against the Appeal Court ruling.
He expressed belief that “justice will be served on the merit of his matter as he is convinced that he scored the highest lawful votes cast during the governorship elections and should have rather been declared winner by INEC.”
He added, “Chief Ihedioha is not unaware of the shock and disappointment that have engulfed the entire state following this unfortunate ruling. He notes the hardship, hunger and hopelessness Imolites are subjected to just to satisfy Okorocha’s greed.”

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