Governor Rochas Okorocha
Tobi Soniyi and Amby Uneze
A Federal High Court in Abuja Wednesday granted leave for the chairmen of the 27 local government councils in Imo State sacked by Governor Rochas Okorocha to apply for a judicial review of the governor’s action.
This came as Okorocha yesterday escaped being lynched by angry youths from Oguta who were protesting against the government interference against the swearing in of their representative in the Imo State House of Assembly.
Justice Gladys Olotu who granted the leave to apply for a judicial review of the dissolution of the local government areas in Imo State, stated that it was to “operate as a stay of all actions and proceedings in the dispute between the local government councils in Imo State and the Imo State government pending the hearing and determination of the suit”.
The judge who is sitting as a vacation judge adjourned the case to September 11, 2012 for hearing of the substantive application for a judicial review.
The Oguta state constituency had remained without a representative in the state House of Assembly since June last year, exactly 15 months into the life span of the legislature, as a result of discrepancies which arose from the last general election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in response to the court rulings had organised a final re-run election for the Assembly seat on August 11, 2012 to complete the process and fortunately the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Eugene Okechukwu Dibiagwu emerged the winner and was issued a certificate of returns by INEC.
Based on the letter signed by the Permanent Secretary/Clerk of the House of the Imo State House of Assembly, Chris Duru, inviting Dibiagwu to present himself for swearing in on Wednesday, August 22, 2012 having fulfilled all the necessary constitutional requirements, and the member-elect storm the Assembly with his supporters but was disappointment by the opposing announcement stopping the swearing in.
The Oguta youths who were angered by the sudden turn of events took to the streets of Owerri to register their grievance over non representation for the past 15 months in the state Assembly before a combined team of army and police dispersed them.
THISDAY leanrt that the youths who proceeded to Oguta to register their protest at the Addax flow station at Izombe suddenly ran into the convoy of the governor, who must have gone to find out if the youths had blocked the flow station received the greatest shock of his life as he was stoned by the angry youths.
In a reaction, the PDP expressed dismay over the action of the state government whom it accused of fanning the ember of discord and acrimony in the state.
Addressing the press in their office, the party’s secretary, Sir George Eguh, said “the state PDP is pained to bring to the notice of the general public the despotic and undemocratic actions of the APGA-led state government in collaboration with the APGA members of the state House of Assembly to scuttle the will of the people of Oguta state Constituency freely expressed through their free and fair mandate by refusing to swear in their House of Assembly member-elect.”
The APGA had stated that the election that led to the emergent of Dibiagwu was not proper as they had expected that the election would have been a fresh election instead of the continuation of the April 6, 2011 election.