The Federal High Court judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, presiding over the case between the Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has removed himself from the matter.
Justice Taiwo was presiding over Okorocha’s suit seeking to compel INEC to issue him a Certificate of Return as the Senator-elect for Imo West Senatorial District.
INEC refused to issue Okorocha his Certificate of Return after the INEC returning officer had alleged that he was forced to declare the governor winner of the senatorial poll, under duress. Against this backdrop, Okorocha had filed a suit compelling the electoral umpire to issue him Certificate of Return.
Okorocha, in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/296/2019, maintained that INEC lacked statutory powers to withhold his Certificate of Return. The governor urged the court to declare that INEC acted in error by refusing to recognise him, even after the returning officer had declared him winner.
However, during Wednesday’s resumed proceeding on the matter, Justice Taiwo informed all parties involved that he would no longer entertain the case due to a petition that was written against him by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the disputed Imo West Senatorial election, Mr. Jones Onyereri.
The judge told the court that he would transfer the case file back to the Chief Judge for re-assignment to another judge.