From Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi
The absence of the Presiding Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Babagana Ashigar, sitting in Birnin Kebbi, has stalled the ongoing cases of the pre-election matters before him.
Justice Ashigar has been presiding over many pre-election matters, involving All Progressives Congress (APC) and of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidates, whose elections were being challenged in the Court.
At the court session on Wednesday, the slated hearing of pre-election cases of Jega, Aliero and Gwandu federal constituency primary elections and that of Yauri, Shanga and Ngaski Federal constituency primary election seats were stalled due to the absence of the judge.
After waiting for hours, the Registry of the court informed Claimant’s and Defendant’s Counsels that the Court would not seat due to the ill health of the presiding judge.
Both the Claimant’s and Defendant’s Counsels who came from Abuja, Sokoto, and Kebbi, however, were asked to take new dates for their cases.
At the court, which was fully crowded by supporters of various candidates, including Hon Muhammad Umar Jega, of APC who is challenging Kabiru Labbo Jega, APC and INEC for allegedly substituting his name haven won the primary election of Jega, Aliero and Gwandu federal constituency conducted by APC were dejected by the absence the judge.
They expressed concern over the time-bound on the pre-election matters, which according to them is ‘suit-generis’, as a result of the absence of the presiding judge and the new adjournment of their matters to 17th and 18th August 2022 which might go outside the time frame for hearing and determined pre-election matters.
Reliable sources told our correspondent that, due to the nature of the presiding judge’s illness, coupled with the fact he is also expected to embark on terminal leave soon, as well as retirement from the service in the next few months, the litigants are expecting him to notify the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, headquarters, Abuja, to assign another judge to take over the matters.