The Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri, the Imo State capital on Tuesday set aside the decision of the Imo State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal which struck out the petition of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) for Okigwe State Constituency, in the April 11, 2015 House of Assembly election, Chief Okey Uduh against the speaker of the State House of Assembly, Chief Acho Ihim.
Uduh had challenged the election of Ihim of the All Progressives Congress (APC), alleging electoral irregularities and malpractices during the election. But, the tribunal dismissed Uduh’s petition for non-compliance with “Paragraph 18(1) of the Electoral Act 2000 as amended”.
However, in a ruling, the Appeal Court held that the tribunal was wrong in striking out Uduh’s petition on the grounds of technicalities, instead of substantial justice and therefore, remitted the case to the tribunal for “trial on merit’’.
Speaking with journalists, counsel to the petitioner, Mr. Anaele Ogujiofor hailed the ruling for meeting the standard of justice. His words: “We went to the court to complain that the tribunal erred in law in granting the application of the third respondent (INEC) to dismiss our petition.
“That the tribunal was wrong in their holding that the petition did not meet the standard required in law. That paragraph 18 upon which the tribunal predicated the judgment was a rule of law, but our opponents decided to use it as a quick kill which was wrong.
“Happily the court has decided in our favour, so we are returning to the tribunal. What the law is looking at now is substantial justice where the grievances of the petitioner will be ventilated”.
He lamented that the whole intention of the respondents was to stall the case with technicalities.
Chief Uduh said his victory had proved the judiciary as the last hope of the common man.“I feel very happy, great and on top of the world over the ruling. I thank God that He is using the judiciary to upturn the injustices meted out to many”, he said.