The APC has petitioned the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja, over Justice Taiwo Taiwo’s decision to give accelerated hearing in a suit seeking disqualification of its governorship candidate.
The APC candidate in the Sept.19 governorship election in Edo, is Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
The petition dated Aug. 20, 2020 and signed by the Secretary of the Caretaker Committee, Sen. John Akpanuduedehe, the party accused Justice Taiwo of moving fast in the hearing of the suit by granting abridgment of time to the plaintiffs in the matter when motion for same had not been moved.
The party prayed the Chief Judge (C.J.) of the court, Justice John Tsoho, to withdraw the suit against its candidate from the judge.
The party alleged that from its findings, Justice Taiwo had a close relationship with the Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Campaign Council in the Edo governorship election.
APC alleged that on Aug. 10, Justice Taiwo suo motu abridged the time allowed by law for the defendants to respond to an issue even when they (defendants) had not been served with the originating summons by fixing the matter for Aug. 24 when motion on notice for abridgment of time had not been moved by plaintiffs.
“That even when the honourable court granted exparte order for substituted service of the processes in suit no. FHC/ABJ/CS/839/2020, the story all over Edo is that the APC candidate , Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has been disqualified by Justice Taiwo Taiwo.
” That the APC is worried that they have no chance of getting Justice before Justice Taiwo Taiwo on account of his affinity to Governor Wike and the anxiety demonstrated by abridging the time for defendants to file processes when the motion to do so was still pending and some defendants had not been served with the originating summons,” it alleged.
However when the matter came up on Monday, Counsel to Ize-Iyamu, Mr Roland Otaru, SAN, and that of APC, Ehiogie West-Idahosa, drew the attention of Justice Taiwo to the petition and asked him to suspend proceedings pending the time, the chief judge wold give directive on the petition.
Taiwo, however, told them to leave the petition for the C.J. to treat being an administrative matter, adding that the new practice direction did not permit him to simply hands off from the matter.
When pressed further by Otaru that he must stay proceedings in view of the petition, the judge drew the attention of the senior lawyer to the new National Judicial Council (NJC) directive to the effect that “in a pre-election matter, no judge shall stop proceedings until otherwise directed by the council.”
When the attempt to halt proceedings proved abortive, defendants in the matter applied for adjournment to enable them react to issues raised in the suit and to also allow the plaintiffs move a motion on notice for the matter to be heard during vacation.
NAN reports that the plaintiffs, led by Momoh Abdul-Razak, had through their lawyer, Sir Friday Nwosu, sued the APC, Ize-Iyamu, INEC and Audu Ganiyu, praying for an order of court to stop Ize-Iyamu’s participation in the election on account of alleged ineligibility.
Justice Taiwo then adjourned the matter until Sept. 3 for hearing of pending motions.
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