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Rivers APC HoR candidates threaten to stop federal judge from hearing their case

Candidates of the federal House of Representatives from the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State have vowed to use any means including actions that may land them in jail just to stop a particular federal high court judge from sitting on their case.

The group addressed the press in Port Harcourt, Thursday morning, August 18, 2022, the second time, to remind the judge to recuse himself in a case marked FHC/PHC/CS/127/2022 filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and 17 others (being all APC HoR candidates for the 2023 elections).

The group said they had applied for the justice, Stephen Daylop Pam to recuse himself from the case when it came up on Monday, July 25, 2022.

Ezemonye Ezekiel-Amadi, House of Representatives candidate for Ikwerre/Emohua constituency, who read the press statement for the group, said; “In response to my oral application, the Judge informed me that he was aware of my application but that it would be taken subsequently at the hearing of the Suit. Since the Judge, being aware of my said application and neither mentioned it in open Court as he should have, nor agreed to hear it on that day but rather chose to adjourn the suit for hearing despite my repeated protestations, I sensed a trap and therefore addressed the press on that said date, to alert the wide world of the pendency of my application for the Judge to recuse himself.”

He said further applications have been made by the other APC candidates for the justice to recuse himself, but the justice has remained adamant. Ezekiel-Amadi said they have also complained to the Administrative Judge of the Port Harcourt Division as well as to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, requesting that the matter be withdrawn from Pam and be re-assigned to another Judge of the Federal High Court preferably in Abuja.

He said the only advice they got was to go back and do another oral application to the same justice, but he said they will not repeat same oral application that had been ignored by Pam.

Read also: Race to Brick House in PH: Rivers APC seems to learn 2019 lesson as 10 guber aspirants endorse unity document

Instead, the APC candidates said they felt there were being lured and goaded into a trap because with the benefit of experience in legal practice; “We know that there is palpable danger in this procedure as the Judge – Pam – will no doubt overrule us and foist on us a situation of helplessness while then proceeding to deliver an already prepared judgment in the substantive suit which judgment that you guess would definitely be against us.’

The group, referring to a lawyer in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, that has been in detention for over one month on the orders of the Akwa Ibom Chief Judge, vowed to press on and use any action to stop Pam from hearing the case, even if their action would also land them in jail.

They claimed that all political cases from a state governor have all been sent to that federal court with verdicts the group said the world knows about.

The protest statement said; “There are no fewer than 79 Judges of the Federal High Court in Nigeria today. Why then is Justice Pam the only Judge to handle all cases of PDP seeking to bar all other political parties from the 2023 elections? Why? Is this not sufficiently curious as to arouse the suspicion of a discerning mind?”

Expressing surprise at the reluctance of the justice to recuse himself, the group said instances abound even at the Supreme Court where such applications have been made in the past and in response, the concerned Justices towed the honorable path and simply gave way for the matter to be determined by another or other Justice(s).