Justice Okon Abang, the second judge assigned to preside over Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha’s certificate of return suit has withdrawn from the case.
Okorocha in the suit is praying for an order compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue him a certificate of return as the senator-elect for Imo West.
Abang is the second judge to quit the case after Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court Abuja, who withdrew from the case only about a week earlier.
After Justice Taiwo withdrew from the case on April 10, it was reassigned to Justice Okon Abang also of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
According to the PUNCH, Justice Abang was said to have on April 11 fixed April 18 for hearing in the suit. He however announced his decision to withdraw from the suit on the fixed date.
Abang was said to have withdrew from the case sequel to Okorocha’s letter to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Adamu Abdu-Kafarati, asking for the transfer of the case to another judge.
Okorocha was said to have in his letter sought the transfer of the case to another judge because opponents in the case were jubilating that Justice Abang would dismiss the case.
Abang was said to have, upon seeing the letter in the file without delay, informed parties of his withdrawal from the suit.
Like Abang, Justice Taiwo had also withdrawn from the suit following allegations of bias levelled against him by two parties to the suit.
After INEC refused to issue certificate of return to Okorocha on the claim that the Returning Officer for the February 23 election, Professor Francis Ibeawuchi, declared him winner of the Orlu Zone senatorial election under duress, the outgoing Imo governor ran to court.
In his suit, he is challenging INEC’s decision to withhold the certificate of return due to him as the winner of the election.
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