The decision on who should claim the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last by-election in Imo North Senatorial District, Imo State would be made by the Supreme Court on or before February 7 this year.
This became public on Monday at the mention of three appeals filed before the Supreme Court by parties interested in the issue.
The first appeal, marked: SC/971/2020 was filed Senator Ifeanyi Godwin Ararumen against Lady Unchenna Onyeiwu Uba and four others; the second, marked: SC/971/2020, also filed by Ararume against Chukwuma Frank Ibezim and others, and SC/1060/2020 filed by Dr. Edith Chidimma Uwajumogu against Chukwuma Frank Ibezim and others.
Recall that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) returned the APC winner of the by election held on December 5, 2020 in the Imo North Senatorial district.
It however did not return a candidate for the party on the grounds that there were many court decisions for and against the two main contenders from the APC- Ararume and Ibezim.
When the appeals were called on Monday, and upon enquiry from the court, Ahmed Raji (SAN), who led Ararume’s legal team, told the court that the three appeals were on the same issue.
Although lawyer to one of the respondents in the second appeal, Robert Emukpoeruo (SAN) said the appeal involving his client was slightly different, Raji insisted the appeals were all about the dispute as to who ought to be the authentic candidate of the APC for Imo North Senatorial District of Imo State.
On when the appeals would lapse, being pre-election related, Raji said February 7 this year.
A five-man panel of the court, led by Justice Amina Augie then elected to hear the first appeal, for the other two to abide the decision reached.
Justice Augie assured the parties that all issues would be considered in the single judgment to be rendered.
She frowned at the application for joinder filed by Chino Obiagwu (SAN) on behalf of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Justice Augie noted that the PDP has no business in a matter relating to APC’s internal affairs.
She advised the PDP to direct its energy to the election tribunal if it was interested in challenging the outcome of the election.
Another member of the panel, Justice Emmanuel Agim noted that the PDP intended to act as a spoiler by filing the application, with the intention of causing delay in the determination of the case.
The court, however, could not hear the appeal it set down for hearing on realising that processes were not fully served on parties.
In a ruling, Justice Augie said, in view of the fact that parties have not all been served with necessary court documents, hearing in the case would be rescheduled for February 3 at 12 noon.
She noted that the life span of the appeals would expire by February 7 this year.
By that observation, the court has between February 3 and 7 to render its decision.