Frank Ibezim and Ifeanyi Araraume
A state High Court in Owerri has introduced another twist into the back and forth contest for Imo North Senate seat between Chukwuma Ibezim and Senator Ifeanyi Araraume.
In Abuja on Thursday, Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to issue a certificate of return to Araraume.
Moments after, Justice E.O Agaba in Owerri countermanded the order by issuing an order of interim injunction to INEC.
The order stopped both Araraume and INEC on their tracks.
The injunction asked for a stay of action, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice in the suit.
Agaba granted the order based on the application for motion exparte brought by All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), one Mr. Kelechi Soribe.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo who delivered the judgment ordered INEC to issue the certificate of return within 72 hours.
According to him, with regard to the Appeal Court judgment in Abuja, the third defendant (Chukwuma Ibezim) remained disqualified.
The Judge held that Ararume remains the authentic candidate of the APC and should be declared the winner of the election.
Justice Taiwo had dismissed the Preliminary Objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain Senator Ararume’s suit filed by the APC and Chukwuma Ibezim.
The judge described the application as “an attempt to arrest the judgment.”
He dismissed it for lacking in merit.
Ararume had, through his counsel told Justice Taiwo Taiwo to invoke the judgments of a Federal High Court and that of an Appeal Court to disqualify Ibezim and declare him as the rightful candidate for APC.
Tunde Falola, Counsel to Senator Ararume told journalists after the court ruling.
HE said the judgments of the High Court and later the Court of Appeal have conclusively disqualified Ibezim.
He said Ibezim cannot claim to be an aspirant or candidate in the Imo North Senatorial election.