June 24, 2024

Amaewhule loses big as court refuses petition seeking reassignment of suit on his defection to APC


By Davies Iheamnachor

A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has discountenanced a petitioned filed against the court by Martins Amaewhule to the Chief Judge of the High Court, seeking to stall the hearing of a case seeking to declare his seat and those of 24 others vacant at the high in Port Harcourt.

BOOT Party and others as plaintiffs in suit number FHC/PHC/269/2024 are praying the Federal High Court holden in Port Harcourt to declare the seats of Amaechwule and 24 others vacant for decamping from the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC.

The suit which was instituted sometime in December has continued with lots of legal firepower with the PDP and the APC seeking to be joined as parties in the suit.

When the court resumed on Monday for hearing, the court was confronted with a petition signed by Martin Amaewhule addressed to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Hon. Justice John Tsoho, seeking the case to be reassigned to another court.

The Presiding Judge, Justice Steven Dalyop Pam, who read the petition in the open court, noted that the petitioner, Amaewhule, was praying the CJ of the High Court, to stop the hearing process and reassign same matter to another court.

Pam noted that the petitioner claimed in the petition that the court has refused to allow other interested parties to the suit to join.

When the petition was read, Counsel for the plaintiff, BOOT Party, Mr. Reuben Wanogho,

told the court that the petition was aimed at arresting the ongoing case and urged the court to discountenance it.

Wanogho argued that the petition that was not served on the parties was an impudence saying: “I urge your Lordship to totally discountenance the petition as it is targeted to arrest the proceeding.

“If your Lordship bows to this letter, then you have allowed the litigants to determine pending applications before the court even before they are heard.

“It is not part of our jurisprudence that the determination of motions for joinder will form the bases for the transfer of cases. The application is a slap to the temple of justice and all of us who are workers in that temple.”

Also, the National Legal Adviser of the PDP, Adeyemi Ajibade, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, had insisted that there was no intention by the court to shut out anyone from joining in the suit, adding that the petition is ill intended.

However, Counsel for the 1st to 25th Defendants in the suit, Ferdinand Orbi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, denied knowledge of the petition by his client, but prayed the court to adhere to the petition and stop further proceeding if the letters was addressed to the CJ of the court.

Orbi said: “I know nothing about the petition, even though it was written by the 15th defendant. Be that as it may my lord, if the letter is addressed to your Lordship, then there may be grounds to consider the submissions.

“If it is not addressed to you, then you have no grounds to discountenance it. It will be wise to await the decision, of the Honourable Chief Judge, of the Federal High Court of whom the letter was addressed. We don’t know if the CJ will ask you to go on or stop the hearing.”

In response to the Judge’s, Pam’s stand that the defense has not filled counter affidavits to the originating summon Orbi, noted that he was yet to file affidavits on the suit, adding that none of the motions for joinder has been served on him.

Orbi said: “We haven’t filed our counter affidavit to the originating summons. However, there is a reason for that my Lord. Because at the point of filing the counter affidavit, the application for joinder came in. I am not within time to file the counter affidavit. We are not within time to file.”

However, the presiding judge, Pam, noted that in the first instance the petitioner (Amaewhule) has no motion, counter affidavit before him and that he is not yet known in the case.

Pam in his ruling noted that the petitioner has not copied his petition on the plaintiffs, noting the court would have no other option than discountenance the petition and move on with hearing of motions for joinder.

The Judge who discountenanced the petition on the said grounds, further adjourned till Friday, 28th June, for hearing of pending motions.