Tony Osauzo, Benin
Edo State All Progressives Congress (APC) factional Chairman and Secretary of the party, David Imuse and Lawrence Okah, have petitioned the Chief Judge of the state, Esther Edigin and the National Judicial Council (NJC), to demand transfer of a case before Justice V. O. A Oviawe, whom the petitioners accused of bias.
In the petition dated January 14, 2020, the petitioners accused the judge of bias in the suit between Imuse and the other APC factional Chairman, Anselm Ojezua, over who is the authentic party chairman in Edo State.
Eleven out of the 16-member APC state executive in Edo State had sacked Ojezua and subsequently elected Imuse as new chairman. Imuse’s election was subsequently ratified by APC National Working Committee.
Not satisfied with the development, Ojezua approached the High Court to contest his removal.
But in the petition addressed to the chief judge, which was copied the NJC, Imuse and Okah alleged they will not get justice in the suit presided by Justice Oviawe and therefore asked for a transfer of the suit before the judge.
“This letter has become necessary because of the brazen and obvious partisanship the aforementioned presiding judge has displayed from the inception of this case till date.
“We hereby cite some of these actions to show that the presiding judge has a personal interest in the matter contrary to the interest of justice, which the court ought to uphold at all times.
“We were at home on November 22, 2019, the day a send-off ceremony was held for the out gone chief judge when we read on the social media that Justice Oviawe has given an order against us.
“When we investigated the story, we were told that it is not possible because there was a circular from the Nigerian Bar Association, Benin branch and the Edo State judiciary that no court will be sitting on that date in honour of the retiring Chief Judge, Esohe Ikponmwen.
“Contrary to the above directive, Oviawe sat and granted an order of interim injunction against us on that day.”