By Egufe Yafugborhi & Davies Iheamnachor
RIVERS State All Progressives Congress, APC, National Assembly candidates for 2023 elections, yesterday, insisted that Justice Stephen Pam should recuse self from the suit filed at the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt by Rivers Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, seeking to nullify their candidature.
When the suit came up July 25, 2022, Ezemonye Ezekiel-Amadi, 12th defendant and APC candidate for Ikwerre/Emohua federal constituency, who appeared in person, brought to the attention of Justice Pam, his pending application for the judge to recuse self from the suit.
In response to the 12th defendant’s oral application, the judge had informed him that he was aware of his application but that it would be taken subsequently at the hearing of the suit.
At a gathering, yesterday, the defendants, excluding the National Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, Ezekiel-Amadi, noted: “Between July 25, when the matter came up in court and today, further applications have been made individually to the Administrative Judge of the Port Harcourt Division and to as the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, requesting that the matter be withdrawn from Justice Pam and re-assigned to another judge, preferably in Abuja.
“Today, the 16 of us individually and represented as the NASS candidates of the APC collectively insist that Justice Pam recuses self from the suit against us and before him.
“Following our letters, the Administrative Judge by letter dated August 8, 2022, directed that we go back to same court and orally apply to Justice Pam, so that he, according to the Administrative Judge ‘will write a considered ruling’ on our application.
“We find this directive by the Administrative Judge bizarre because as the 12th defendant in the suit, it was same oral application that we are now expected to go back and make before Justice Pam, that I made on July 25, 2022.
“Therefore, as far as we are concerned, and being lawyers as some of us are, we know we are merely being lured and goaded into a trap because with the benefit of experience in legal practice, we know that there is palpable danger in this procedure as Judge Pam will no doubt overrule us and foist on us a situation of helplessness in the substantive suit which judgment you guess would definitely be against us.
“Any wonder why all the suits by the PDP seeking to delist other political parties from the 2023 election ballots, are all assigned to Justice Pam? And we are tempted to ask: Is Justice Pam the only judge in the Port Harcourt Division?”
Apart from the suit against the APC further adjourned till August 29, Rivers PDP is also in court seeking to delist the Social Democratic Party, Accord and their candidates from participating the 2023 elections for alleged improper conduct of primaries.