A Federal High Court judge has recused himself from a case involving two All Progressives Congress’ governorship aspirants in Imo State after the party accused him of bias.
The judge, Othman Musa, announced his decision to withdraw on Tuesday after reading a petition written by the state’s APC leadership, dated October 22.
Mr Musa adjourned the matter indefinitely to allow the case be assigned to another judge.
The allegation by the Imo State APC followed separate applications filed by the two candidates, Hope Uzodinma and Uche Nwosu, regarding the conduct as well as suspension of the Imo State governorship primaries in the state.
Dissatisfied that he was not selected as the APC’s governorship candidate in the state, Mr Uzodinma approached the court with an ex-parte application, demanding his recognition as the APC flag bearer by the Independent national Electoral Commission (INEC).
Following the ex-parte application, Mr Musa ordered the party to appear in court and explain why Mr Uzodinma’s request should not be granted.
As a reaction to Mr Musa’s order, Mr Nwosu made a separate application which was heard by another judge, Valentine Ashi.
According to the APC in its petition on Tuesday, the party said Mr Ashi ordered it to recognise Mr Nwosu as the authentic candidate of the party.
However, in a hearing expected to ensure the continuation of Mr Uzodinma’s application at Mr Usman’s court on Tuesday, the APC accused the judge of working to ensure the neglect of the other decision made by Mr Ashi’s court.
The party, in its petition, signed by Bisike Chinaka, a deputy leader of the APC in Imo State, “strongly accused” Mr Usman of bias in favour of Mr Uzodinma.
The details of the petition is stated below:
“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 ex-Parte 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 the 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.”
After reading the petition, Mr Musa adjourned the matter indefinitely.
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