The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, yesterday, adjourned till today, to decide whether or not the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in Abia State, Dr. Alex Otti, should be joined as an interested party in an appeal challenging the removal of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu from office.
Ikpeazu and Ogah
A five-man panel of Justices of the court adjourned for ruling on the matter, after both Ikpeazu and Mr. Uche Ogah, who had already been issued a fresh Certificate of Return by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as governor of the state, opposed Otti’s bid to be joined in the dispute. Ikpeazu and Ogah, through their respective lawyers, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, and Dr. Alex Iziyon, SAN, described Otti as a meddlesome interloper, who they said lacked the locus standi to be joined in an inter-party dispute. The duo argued that all issues relating to Abia State governorship election had already been settled by the Supreme Court, accusing Otti of attempting to re-litigate a case he fought and lost at the apex court level.
Whereas Olanipekun contended that the appellate court lacked the jurisdiction to even entertain Otti’s application, Iziyon, applied for dismissal of the joinder-motion with substantial cost. Similarly, a gubernatorial aspirant of the PDP, Mr. Friday Nwosu, who is also laying claim to the governorship seat, equally urged the court to dismiss Otti’s application which he said was not only frivolous, but constituted an abuse of judicial process.
Otti had through his lawyer, Mr. Yusuf Ali, SAN, begged the appellate court to join him in the matter, saying that he was entitled to be heard in view of the June 27 verdict of Justice Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja that sacked Ikpeazu from office. He prayed the court to invoke section 30 of the Court of Appeal Act and join him in the matter even though he was not part of the process at the lower court.