Ibekimi Oriamaja Reports
The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Assembly candidates in Rivers State for the 2023 general elections yesterday protested against Justice Stephen Daylop-Pam of the Federal High Court for refusing to disqualify himself from a case brought by the People’s Democratic Party against them (PDP).
The APC candidates had pleaded with Justice Daylop-Pam to step away from the lawsuit, which was filed in suit number FHC/PHC/CS/127/2022, on the grounds that they did not trust his judgment.
The candidates claimed that the judge and the state governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike, had a close relationship. They claimed that in such a situation, they would not receive justice from the court.
Den Nwigwe, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and counsel for the PDP, revealed that court papers had been served when the case was addressed in court yesterday.
Ezemonye Ezekiel-Amadi, one of the respondents in the case and the APC candidate for the Ikwerre-Emohua federal constituency, appeared on behalf of himself and his party in the lawsuit brought against the NASS candidates. On the request for the judge to recuse himself from the case, the judge was reminded of their petition against him.
-Pam continued the matter for hearing until September 20, 2022 in response to the parties’ representations.
Speaking to reporters outside the courthouse, Ezekiel-Amadi claimed that Justice Daylop-refusal Pam’s to recuse himself validated their earlier suspicion that the judge was out to allegedly derail their political futures.
The 12th defendant in the case, Ezekiel-Amadi, stated: “I brought to His Lordship’s attention my current petition and asked him to disqualify himself with the support of the other defendants, and he refused to entertain it at all. Instead, he deferred the matter to someday in September for hearing. I find that repugnant, both as a litigant and as a lawyer.
We have claimed that he is trying to ruin our political career. He has a personal stake in the issue. Those who have been paying attention will notice the evidence of what we have been stating every time this issue comes up in court.
“Typically, when a judge is asked to recuse himself from hearing a case, that petition needs to be handled because, like the jurisdictional question, it is fundamental to the jurisdiction to hear the case. If I don’t trust a court to hear my case, the only thing the court should do is disqualify himself and, if there are no conflicts of interest, send the file back for reassignment.
Asita Honourable, the APC candidate for Rivers West, said they will fight any attempts by the federal high court judge to hear their lawsuit, stating that they were aware of his purported relationship with the state’s governor.
“We respect the establishment. If a judge hears our case now and rules in our favor, the general perception will be that we petitioned; if he rules against us, we won’t accept it because it confirms our suspicions. The judge should stop this continual adjournment. We asked what he was adjourning for.
“We are arguing that he should drop our case because the Federal High Court has so many judges. We’re not asking you to pass judgment, but we do lack faith in you. We are pleading with him right now to take his hand off of our case, the honorable continued.
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