By Uzoma Ogoke
An Abuja Federal High Court has scheduled March 16 to deliver judgment on a fresh suit instituted against Sir. Frank Ibezim by the legal team of Senator Ifeanyi Araraume.
The legal team of Senator Ararume had instituted a fresh legal action against Sir. Frank Ibezim at the Abuja Federal High Court, praying the court to declare that Frank Ibezim was never a candidate of APC, based on his disqualification by a Federal High Court, as well as an Appeal Court.
The hearing in the matter has been ongoing, with the Judge haven taken the brief of both parties. At the resumed sitting on Tuesday, Araraume’s counsel, Ahmed Raji (SAN), argued that following the Appeal Court’s (Abuja) decision, Ibezim cannot claim to be APC’s candidate.
He also contended that the Supreme Court made no decision on qualification or disqualification. “My lord, the two judgments of the Court of Appeal conclusively disqualified Ibezim (the third Defendant) in this matter, therefore we have three concurrent findings of the trial court and the two court of Appeal judgments disqualifying Ibezim; meaning that the third defendant cannot be an aspirant or a candidate which was why we did not join him before he forced his way into this matter.
“There is no way a trial court can make an order in favor of a disqualified person and the second defendant (APC) is not allowed by law to put forward a disqualified person,” he said.
He further added that “regarding the Supreme Court judgment, I submit that they are not relevant to this matter; the narrow point in that matter is that no relief can be granted against a non-party (Ibezim) to a suit.
“Supreme court never talked about disqualification or qualifications; more so, the Appeal Court judgement came having been aware of the apex court judgement.
“I urge the court to be bound by the Court of Appeal judgement because it is relevant to the issue in this matter, and not the Supreme Court judgement. “Grant the reliefs of the plaintiff because he is the candidate of the second defendant in the election under reference.” he said.
But the APC counsel objected, saying that even though all parties are bound to follow the decision of the judgement of the Appeal Court and Supreme Court under review, the apex court verdict has an effect on Araraume too. But the APC did not comment on the FCT Appeal Court judgment on Ibezim’s disqualification.
On her part, Ibezim’s counsel, Mrs. O. Daudu, told the judge that the matter was predicated on the judgement of the Federal High Court, Owerri (in Araraume’s favour) which had been nullified by the Supreme Court on the 5th day of February 2021.
“Can the plaintiff enforce judgement that has been nullified by the Supreme Court?” she asked, adding that, “If the question is not answered in the affirmative, I urge my lord to dismiss the plaintiff’s suit as he has no locus in this matter before your lordship.”
However the judge asked her to interpret the meaning of the Appeal Court judgement on her client (Ibezim), which she failed to respond.
Also, Araraume’s counsel countered her and alleged that “our suit is based on the trial court judgement of Justice Inyang Ekwo,” not that of Owerri. After hearing them out, Justice Taiwo said he would deliver judgment on the suit on March 16.