PDP Accuses FHC Judge of Bias, Seeks Transfer of Cases to Other Courts

Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused Justice Inyang Ekwo of bias in his handling of cases involving it and has consequently asked the Chief Judge to transfer all their cases to another judge.

The accusation was contained in a letter written to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court and signed by the party’s National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu and National Secretary, Senator Samuel Anyanwu respectively.

Specifically, the PDP had demanded for the transfer of suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/123/2023; between  Siminialayi Fubara and others vs PDP & 5 ORS; suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/112/2023- between Amb. Desmond vs PDP & 2 ORS; suit number: FHC/ASJ/CS/215/2023- between Send Sandy and anor vs PDP & 5 ORS; and all other cases involving the People’s Democratic Party.

The PDP in the application had said, “We are constrained to bring this application to your Lordship to transfer the above listed cases and ail other cases involving our Party from Hon. Justice I. E. Ekwo due to circumstances showing or demonstrating manifest bias/grave likelihood of bias on the part of Hon. Justice I. E. Ekwo against the party.

The PDP claimed that Justice Ekwo “is in the monotonous alternative habit of issuing injurious ex parte Orders against the Party”.

According to them, in the build up to the 2022 primary elections of the Party, the judge had issued “series of harmful ex parte Orders against the Party which eventually caused the Party huge electoral misfortune at the 2023 general elections”.

They mentioned suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/598/2022- between Hon. Monday Iyore Osagie & Ors Vs Peoples Democratic Party & Ors as one of the cases the judge had issued damaging ex parte Orders against the Party.

Ekwo was said to have issued ex parte order on May 6, 2022 restraining the lawful ad hoc delegates who emerged from the Ward congresses conducted by the National Leadership of the Party from participating in the Party’s Primary Elections in Edo State.

“This singular Order caused deep division and disaffection in the Party which eventually affected the fortune of the party in Edo State.

“Suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/123/2023- between Siminialayi Fubara and other vs PDP & 5 ORS. This is a case filed by all the Candidates of the Party in Rivers State praying that they should not be suspended from the Party.

“The case borders on the internal affairs of the Party over which the Court has no jurisdiction to entertain yet Justice I. E. Ekwo granted ex parte Order against the Party.

“Suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/215/2023- Between Sen. Prof. Sandy Onor & Anor VS PDP & 5 Ors. This is a case filed by the Cross River State Governorship and Deputy Governorship Candidates of the Party asking that they should remain members of the Party. The case borders on the internal affairs of the Party over which the Court has no jurisdiction to entertain yet Justice I. E. Ekwo granted ex parte Order against the Party”, the party stated.

In the case between Amb. Desmond Akawor VS PDP & 2 Ors, the PDP pointed out certain alleged “strange developments which leave no one in doubt that Justice I. E. Ekwo has predetermined the case”.

According to the petitioner, the Plaintiff filed its Originating Summons on January 25, 2023, while filed its counter affidavit and Notice of

preliminary Objection challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to hear and determine the matter on February 6.

“When the matter came up for hearing on the same February 6, 2023, the Judge refused to hear the party’s preliminary objection and instead made an order that parties should maintain status quo till the final determination of the matter in the face of the pending objection challenging his jurisdiction.

“On March 9, 2023, the Plaintiff filed motion for amendment of the Originating Summons alongside motion on notice. The reliefs introduced in the amendment being sought and the Motion on Notice is to restrain the Party and its National Officers from denying the Rivers State Legal Adviser of the Party the right to represent or appoint External Solicitors to represent the Party.

“While Notice of Preliminary Objection challenging the jurisdiction, Motions for amendment and for interlocutory injunction are pending, Justice Ekwo on March 13, 2023 entertained another ex parte application seeking the very reliefs contained in the pending Motion on Notice and strangely made ex parte Order asking the Party to show cause why the reliefs should not be granted.

“In his haste to perpetrate injustice against the Party, Justice I. E. Ekwo in the ex parte Order of March 13, 2023 spelt the name of the Party as “la PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PD 21”. As if that is not enough mischief, Justice I. E. Ekwo equally announced himself as Counsel for the Applicant in the case thus: “And after hearing DR. J. Y. Musa, SAN with Hon. Justice I. E. Ekwo Douglas Moru, Esq) of Counsel for the Applicant”. Find attached copy of the ex parte order. This show clearly, that Justice Ekwo is not only bias but has also stooped from the sacred judicial office into handling the brief of the Plaintiff”.

The petitioners stated that apart from being unable to understand the motivation for the ceaseless ex parte Order being granted against the PDP by Justice Ekwo, the party has noted with displeasure the thread with which cases involving the Rivers, Cross Rivers and Edo State Chapters of the Party always find their way to Justice Ekwo.

Adding that in all of these cases, the outcome is always certain an ex parte Order and eventual judgment against the Party.

“Even when it is obvious that the Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain

the matter, Justice I. E. Ekwo always foist jurisdiction on himself in his voyage of injustice against the Party.

“Justice is rooted in confidence and that confidence is destroyed where right minded people go away with the impression that the Judge has a preconceived opinion or predisposition to decide the cause or an issue in a certain way which does not leave the mind perfectly open to conviction.

“The Peoples Democratic Party as a Political Party has lost in Justice I. E. Ekwo and we are convinced that he has a preconceived predisposition to always decide cases involving the Party with bias”.

They prayed the CJ to in view of the forgoing, transfer the above cases and all other cases involving the Party from Hon. I. E. Ekwo.

“We further request that cases involving the Party should no longer be assigned to him”, they prayed.

Related Articles