Godwin Tsa, Abuja
A Federal High Court Judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, sitting in Abuja has washed his hands off the suit bordering on the crisis rocking Delta State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over alleged bias.
The suit is challenging the results of the ward/local government congresses of the APC, held in the state on May 5th and 12th, 2018.
Justice Dimgba took the decision after one of the parties to the suit, Lyndon Ugbome, who is listed as the 2nd defendant in the case filed by Nnamdi Akabuno and Olorogun Movudu Egbo, asked that the case be transfered to another Judge of the Federal High Court for adjudication.
In the said letter dated August 17, 2018 and addressed to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdul Karafati, requested “for the case No: FHC/ABJ/CS/679/2018 between Nnamdi Akabuno and Another V. Odjebobo Nayemefe & 6 Others from Court 10 presided over by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba to any other Judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja division.”
While advancing reasons behind his letter, Ugbome stated; “the concern I presently have with the matter being entertained in Court 10 presided over by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, is that Olorogun Jaro Egbo who is the 2nd plaintiff in the suit has a close relationship with the presiding Judge of Court 10. They were friends and classmates in the Faculty of Law, University of Nigeria, Enugu campus, Enugu State and presently are still very close friends.
“As a result of the above development, I am not comfortable with the matter being entertained in Court 10 presided over by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba. My confidence in the judicial process and seeing that justice is done, is shaken in the circumstances.
Ugbome therefore appealed to the Chief Judge of the Court to transfer the case from Dimgba’s court to any other Judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja division.
When the matter came up for hearing, counsel to Ugbome, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN) drew the attention of the court to the said letter.
Another counsel in the matter, Adeniyi Akintola (SAN) supported the position that the case file be sent back to the Chief Judge of the court for re-assignment to another judge.
Although, counsel to the plaintiffs, Chief Sabastine Hon (SAN) said he was pained by the development, the court in its wisdom decided to comply with the content of the letter.
Justice Dimgba accordingly ordered that the case file be sent back to the Chief Judge for re- assignment to another Judge.
Meanwhile, in the writ of summons, the plaintiffs asked the court to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from recognising any other Committee and ward, Local Government Area or State Congress from Delta State other than that led by Emmanuel Chindah.
The plaintiffs further asked for an order of perpetual injunction, restraining the Inspector General of Police and the Department of State Security (5th and 6th defendants), from accepting and giving security back-up and protection to any other Committee and ward, Local Government Area or State Congress from Delta State other than that led by Emmanuel Chindah.
In addition, the plaintiffs are equally challenging the consent judgment in suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/509/2018 between Odjebobo Onayefeme and another V. National Chairman, All Progressives Congress & another) on the allegation that it was obtained by fraud.
Accordingly, they asked the court for an order setting aside the said consent judgment on ground that it was obtained by fraud, misrepresentation, lack of jurisdiction and without proper authority.
They further asked for an order of court restraining the defendants, privies and agents from accepting, recognising and giving effect to the consent judgment entered on June 19, 2018 in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/509/2018.