Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has again lost in its bid to unseat Governor Alex Otti of Abia State, as the Supreme Court, has awarded N5 million cost against one Ibrahim Haruna Ibrahim, an alleged surrogate of PDP governorship candidate, Okey Ahiwe.
The apex court had three weeks ago thwarted a surreptitious move by the PDP and Ahiwe, seeking to undermine the verdict of Abia people, using the courts.
Ahiwe, who lost the March 18, 2023, governorship election won by Labour Party’s Governor Otti, had filed a suit on October 30, 2023, seeking to be joined as an interested party in a controversial Federal High Court, Kano, judgment now discarded by the Appeal Court, Kano.
The Supreme Court described his application as a bubble and agreed with the lawyers to Dr Otti that Ahiwe had slept over his right, if any.
According to a release by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Kazie Uko, the apex court dismissed the appeal and awarded cost of N500,000 against Ahiwe,” a judgment described by those present in court as a show of shame for Ahiwe and the PDP.”
Ibrahim Haruna Ibrahim and two others, who brought the appeal were reprimanded for “the frivolous matter.”
The apex court described the case as frivolous and of no substance and consequently awarded a cost of N5 million against Ibrahim, believed to be an Ahiwe surrogate, insisting that the money should be paid by the lawyer to the litigant.
At the commencement of proceeding, the court asked the Appellant to address the court as to the substance of the appeal and the reliefs sought.
The court specifically inquired from him whether the appeal bothered on pre-election or post-election matter. However, the appellant’s counsel insisted that the appeal was an election related matter.
The appeal could not be heard at the instance of the appellant who apparently took the hint of the Court and withdrew the appeal as the court considered it as frivolous and of no substance.
The appeal was consequently dismissed after the court rebuked the lawyers to the Appellant and expressed disappointment at the SAN for allowing his junior to issue out this kind of appeal against the Respondents. The court awarded the cost of N5 million in favour of the Respondents to be paid personally by the Appellant counsel.
Reacting to the Supreme Court decision, the lead counsel to Governor Otti, Abiodun Owonikoko SAN, appealed that beyond the cost awarded, the apex court should make a consequential order barring impostors and political surrogates who have been flooding the court with frivolous appeal/application against Dr. Alex Otti, ever since he emerged as the Abia State governor.