Supreme Court dismisses Ihedioha’s appeal against Okorocha

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed the appeal by the Peoples Democratic Party’s governorship candidate in the April 11, 2015, election in Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, challenging the election of Governor Rochas Okorocha.

The seven-man panel of the Supreme Court presided over by Justice John Fabiyi, held that Ihedioha’s appeal lacked merit.

In its judgment, the apex court affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Owerri to the effect that Ihedioha’s failure to properly serve Okorocha and his party, the All Progressives Congress, with the notice of appeal had robbed the appeal court jurisdiction to hear the case.

Justice Iyang Okoro, who read the lead judgment, held that the Court of Appeal was right to have granted the preliminary objection raised against the service of notice of appeal by Okorocha.

He upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal which ruled that the appellants merely “dumped” the processes on the protocol officer of the APC instead of personal service provided for by the law.

“Although the court is not a slave to its rule, it is the duty of the court to ensure that its rules are obeyed,” Justice Okoro ruled.

He dismissed the contention by the appellant that the Court of Appeal having earlier in the course of the proceedings ruled that the processes had been served on all the respondents, it no longer had the power to subsequently rule that the respondents were not properly served.

He held that the statement confirming that the respondents had been served was only that of a registrar of the court and not a decision of the court.

The Supreme Court also held that failure to indicate the addresses of other respondents on the processes of the appeal was fatal to the case.

Justice Okoro ruled, “On the whole, there is no merit in this appeal at all. Accordingly, it is hereby dismissed by me.

“Thus the judgment of the lower court (Court of Appeal) in Owerri delivered on September 3, 2015, which struck out the appeal of the appellant is hereby affirmed. Parties are to bear their respective costs.”

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