Breaking!!! Appeal court upholds Okorocha’s election
* Dismisses Izunaso’s petition
By Steve Oko
The court of appeal sitting in Owerri, Thursday validated the election of Senator Rochas Okorocha of Imo North senatorial zone.
Senator Osita Izunaso has challenged the emergence of the former governor arguing that he was not qualified to stand election as at the time of the election having not resigned from office as “an employee of government”.
Isunaso also contested that Okorocha’s election did not conform with the provisions of the electoral act.
But delivering judgement on the petition, the court held that a governor was not an employee of government but only elected into office and is not bound by the provisions of the constitution that requires a civil servant or government employee to resign his previous job before standing in for elective position.
On the claims that the returning officer announced Okorocha winner under duress, the court said the allegation was criminal but could not be proved beyond every reasonable doubt.
According to the Chairman of the tribunal who delivered the judgement as other members of the panel did not show up, the video clip where the respondent was overheard saying “you must declare the result ” could mean the result of the election must be declared now and does not suggest he must be declared winner.
The court discharged the petition saying “that credible error is not substantial enough to void an election”.
Okorocha’s counsel, W. A Oladile and that of INEC, AC Okorafor hailed the judgement.
Izunaso’s lawyer, Fintan Ilika also accepted the verdict saying they had no choice since the appellant court was the final bus stop for the matter.