The All Progressives Congress has petitioned the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, asking for the transfer of two suits filed against the candidacy of Mr Osagie Ize-Iyamu as the party’s flag-bearer in the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State, from Justice Taiwo Taiwo to another judge of the court.
The party stated that it would not get justice from Justice Taiwo because of his alleged strong affinity with Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, who belongs to the rival Peoples Democratic Party.
The PDP had nominated Governor Godwin Obaseki as its candidate in the forthcoming September 19, 2020 governorship election in Edo State.
The APC, in its August 20, 2020 petition signed by its National Secretary, John Akpanudoedehe, alleged that Wike had openly boasted that he would do everything to ensure that the PDP won the Edo State governorship election.
Aside the alleged affinity between Justice Taiwo and Wike, the APC also expressed doubts about the judge’s impartiality in the handling of the cases so far.
The party stated, “That on August 10, 2020, when Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/758/2020 came up for mention, the learned judge, suo motu, abridged the time allowed by law for the defendants to respond, even when some of the defendants have not been served with the originating processes, by fixing the matter for August 24, 2020, for hearing and that responses must be filed before then.
“That at the time the learned judge made the said order, a motion on notice to abridge time was pending before the court which had not been served on all parties.”
The APC said it had no confidence that it would get justice before Justice Taiwo Taiwo “and therefore humbly request that the said matters be transferred to any other vacation Judge in the Federal Capital Territory.”
In one of the two suits referred to in the petition, two APC members, Momoh Abdul-Razak and Zibiri Muhizu, asked the court to disqualify the party’s governorship candidate, Ize-Iyamu, and his running mate, Mr Audu Faniyi.
The plaintiffs’ grounds for the suit included allegation that Ganiyu gave false information to INEC in aid of his qualification for the governorship election.
When Abdul-Razak and Muhizu’s cases came up for hearing on Monday, Justice Taiwo said he could suspend hearing the case to await the decision of the Chief Judge.
The judge told Ize-Iyamu’s counsel, Mr Roland Otaru (SAN), and counsel for Ehiogie West-Idahosa, that the court’s new practice direction did not allow a judge to withdraw from a suit the moment a petition was filed.
The defence lawyers the applied for an adjournment to enable them to respond to the suit.
The judge then adjourned till September 3.