A Federal High Court in Uyo has adjourned to a later date, the case between Akan Ekpe Okon and the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) governorship candidate, Pastor Umo Eno, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
When the suit FHC/UY/CS/110/2022 came up Thursday for hearing, Mr. Etim Aniekan Akan, one of the defeated aspirants in the PDP Governorship primaries, sought the Court’s leave to be joined as a party in the suit.
However, speaking for the 1st and 2nd Defendants, Paul Usoro, SAN, citing relevant judicial authorities said the only grounds on which a party can be joined in a suit is where their participation will aid the administration of Justice, and where such party’s interests are tied to the interests of the defendants.
Paul Usoro said where the party sought to be joined is seeking the cancellation of the primaries and disqualification of the registered parties, there is no connection between such interests and that of the plaintiffs and the defendants and urged the court to dismiss the application.
The 1st and 2nd defendants reasoned that a necessary party is a party without whose presence the case cannot be completely or effectively determined.
They reasoned further that one can also be joined in a case if the plaintiff had made a case or seeks reliefs that pertain to or affect that party.
Similarly, the counsel to the plaintiff, Uche Awa, SAN, also opposed the application by Mr. Etim Akan, seeking to be joined in the case describing it as abuse of court process.
Mr. Etim Akan had pleaded that having bought the forms from the 1st Defendant and having participated and secured some votes at the primaries, he deserved to be a part of the case.
Tabi Towo who appeared for the aspirant, argued that neither the plaintiff Akan Okon, nor the 2nd Defendant Pastor Umo Eno was qualified, whereas his client was eminently qualified and asked among other things that the May 25, 2022 governorship primaries be nullified.
The said Etim Akan had in a motion on notice, sought the order of the court to be joined as 4th defendant, and to be served with all the processes filed on the suit.
He argued that pursuant to Order 9 Rule 5 of the Rules of the Federal High Court, 2019, “any person may be joined as defendant against whom the right to any relief is alleged to exist, whether jointly, severally or in the alternative and judgements may be given against one or more of the defendants as may be found to be liable, according to their respective liabilities, without amendment.”
Accordingly, Justice Agatha Okeke adjourned proceedings to a later date to be communicated to the parties, for ruling on the application