By NewsCritic Reporters
Hon Justice CCT Adiele of the State High Court, Umuahia, Abia State today Tuesday 8th November, 2020 disqualified himself from delivering judgement in a motion of interlocutory injunction filed by the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, and its Chairmanship candidate in the 2016 local government chairmanship election in Isialangwa-South LGA, Hon Christian Okeri, against the conduct of the December 18, 2020 chairmanship poll in the area pending the determination of the substantive suit.
The case which was slated for ruling today took a dramatic turn when Hon Justice Adiele after entertaining the arguments of the defendants and complainants for and against the planned ruling on the motion for an interlocutory order to stop the conduct of the chairmanship poll in Isialangwa-South, said he would rule on the case.
Hon Justice Adiele, delivering his judgement said that a prominent son of Isialangwa visited him (Judge) at his residence on November 11, 2020 after calling on phone to inform him (Judge) that he was coming to invite him (Judge) to a wedding ceremony.
Justice Adiele further said that when the prominent Isialangwa citizen came to his house he didn’t bring any invitation card along, rather he went into a matter pending before his court which is the APGA, PDP chairmanship tussle which motion to restrain ABSIEC from conducting chairmanship poll in the LGA is slated for ruling today.
He said that the prominent member of Isialangwa told him (Judge) that nobody sent him to the Judge and demanded that the Judge should do justice to the case before his court and rule on the motion for interlocutory injunction coming up today accordingly.
Justice Adiele held that this exparte hearing offends Rule 2…which prohibits a judicial officer from hearing a pending suit in his house, adding that with what transpired he (Judge) has been made to hear the case twice, one at the court and another at his private residence. He said he has no choice than to disqualify himself and to transfer the case to the Hon Chief Judge to reassign it to another court.
Speaking to NewsCritic on the development, counsel to the complainant applicant, Barr FC Ifeakor, stressed that the next line of action is to facilitate the transfer to the Chief Judge to reassign the case to another judge.
He said there is no cause for alarm, adding “that’s the society we live in, anything can happen politically and Abia happens to be the worst. He observed that all the while the case has been in court nobody has gone to the judge to influence him, saying “I don’t know the truth but that’s what the judge said.
On how this will impact on the substantive suit which has to do with the nullification of the election of the PDP candidate in the 2016 LGA election in Isialangwa South, Mr Isikaku, and the order to conduct a fresh election in which the APGA candidate is the sole candidate which ABSIEC flouted, Barr Ifeakor, said that this is an executive position which stands alone, and the matter is in court.
He noted that the proposed election in Isialangwa South if it eventually holds will be an affront and abuse of court process. He said “we will continue to pursue the course of justice and we are confident we will be successful.
He said the judge is right to disqualify himself if any one approaches him because it might cause him some problems in future.
The APGA and its candidate in the 2016 Chairmanship election in Isialangwa-South, Hon Okeri, had filed a motion seeking an order to stop ABSIEC from conducting fresh chairmanship election in the LGA pending the determination of the pending suit.
NewsCritic reports that following the outcome of the 2016 LGA polls and the declaration of the PDP candidate, Mr Isikaku as winner, the APGA candidate went to the Tribunal and the Tribunal nullified the election of the PDP candidate and ordered a fresh election after disqualifying the PDP candidate from participating in the fresh election.
On appeal the PDP and its candidate lost and the appeal upheld the ruling of the election petition tribunal. However, ABSIEC and the Abia State government refused to obey the court judgement leading to fresh legal challenge to enforce the judgement of the court.