*Fixes September 29 for hearing
By Ise-Oluwa Ige
ABUJAâ€”The Supreme Court yesterday consolidated two separate appeals by Imo State Governor, Dr Ikedi Ohakim and the INEC, challenging the verdict of the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal, which held that it has jurisdiction to review Ohiakimâ€™s election as requested by the gubernatorial candidate of APGA, Chief Martins Agbaso.
The candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) party in the April 14 and 28 governorship election in Imo State, Chief Agbaso had asked the Abuja Court of Appeal to order INEC to announce the April 14, 2007 gubernatorial poll in the state.
But Governor Ohiakim, who emerged the winner of April 28, 2007 gubernatorial poll in the state together with INEC, urged the court not to hear Agbasoâ€™s case but the court declined and assumed jurisdiction in the case.
Aggrieved by the decision, Governor Ohakim and INEC filed separate appeals, praying the Supreme Court to set aside the ruling of the appellate court on the grounds that theÂ Justices of the Appeal Court erred in law when they allegedly ventured into the merit of the appeal at the preliminary stage.
The appeals were scheduled for hearing yesterday, but when the matter came up, the apex court advised counsel to Ohakim and INEC to consolidate their respective appeals since they were essentially seeking the same relief.
…. Group hails ruling
Meanwhile, in a swift reaction yesterday, the League of Imo Professionals (Lagos branch), hailed the Supreme Court’s ruling, describing it as â€˜yet another proof that the nationâ€™s judiciary is now in the hands of God-fearing men who canâ€™t be swayed by the dirty antics of a bunch of desperate politiciansâ€™.
The statement by the political pressure group by its publicity secretary, Architect Luke Igbokwe, said, â€œwe consider the ruling by the Supreme Court throwing out Martin Agbasoâ€™s application as highly commendable indeed.
The same court had earlier turned down the application at the resumed hearing of the case on May 5. There should be a limit to the abuse of the judicial process. Sensing the imminent collapse of their case, theyâ€™re now bent on distracting the highest court in the land with the theatrics of their frivolous applications.
â€˜We the League of Imo Professionals wishes to use this opportunity to reaffirm our unshakable confidence in the nationâ€™s judiciary as the haven of men and women of impeccable characters determined to dispense justice without fear or favour. We shall continue to monitor the events closely, even though we strongly believe that there is no basis for the seemingly unending legal contention in the first place.
We believe that the valuable resources â€“ time and money- being expended on what is now commonly regarded as the Imo cocktail of litigations on both sides could have been put to better use to benefit the masses of Imo who are now weary of all these distractions.”