By Alex Enumah in Abuja
The lingering court action challenging the conduct of the governorship primary election of the Imo State All Progressives Congress (APC) was on Tuesday adjourned indefinitely by an Abuja High Court.
The two suits instituted by Hope Uzodinma, who is laying claim to the governorship ticket of the APC and Uche Nwosu, who is also laying claim to the same ticket was put off following a petition by the state chapter of the APC, which accused the judge of bias.
At the resumed hearing Tuesday, Justice Othman Musa, after allowing lawyers in the suit to announce appearances, read out a petition dated October 22, 2018, addressed to the judge, accusing him of bias and favoritism.
The petition signed by one Bisike Chinaka, deputy chairman of the party in the state, accused Justice Musa specifically of favouring Uzodinma in the court proceedings by granting orders in his favour.
APC took a swipe at the judge for granting an order directing the party to show cause why the name of Uzodinma should not be forwarded to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the candidate of the party in the 2019 governorship election in Imo State.
The petitioner copied the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Justice Ishaq Bello, and was titled: ‘Judicial Bias, Misconduct and Partiality by the Court’.
It read in part: “Following the cancellation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary election for the party’s candidate for the 2019 Imo State Governorship Election, on 4th October, 2018, Senator Hope Uzodinma filed an action against the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“The matter was assigned to his Lordship Othman Musa of Court 13, Bwari Judicial Division. On the 5th of October 2018, his Lordship made an order that the parties should show cause why the said exparte application should not be granted.
“Therefore, Ugwunba Uche Nwosu also initiated an action in relation to the said primary election for APC candidate for the 2019 Imo Governorship Election and matter was assigned to his Lordship Valentine Ashi of Court 23, Apo Judicial Division.
“His Lordship granted an Interim Order of Injunction on 9th October, 2018 against APC and INEC to the effect that they must respectively send and receive Ugwumba Uche Nwosu’s name as the party’s candidate for the election.
“Unfortunately since this order was made, we have noticed that the proceedings before you which we have keenly watched, appeared to be skewed in favour of Hope Uzodinma instead of both parties being treated equally.
“For instance, the court is always referring to the order to show cause granted in favour of Hope Uzodinma while ignoring the others made in favour of Ugwumba Uche Nwosu as though the latter orders were made by an inferior court.
“We strongly accuse you of bias and unable to discharge the oath of your office as such recuse Yourself forthwith and remit the case file to the Chief Judge.”
Justice Musa, after reading the petition to the open court, informed the parties that he would not be able to proceed with the matter, adding that since the petitioner copied the Chief Judge, he would await the reaction of the Chief Judge.
He subsequently adjourned the matter indefinitely.