Hope of an early resolution of the dispute on the outcome of two parallel governorship primaries conducted by factions of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was dashed yesterday.
Justice Othman Musa of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Bwari, Abuja, adjourned the matter indefinitely.
The judge, on October 17, merged both suits by Hope Uzodinma (a product of one of the primaries) and Uche Nwosu (who reportedly won the other primary conducted by a faction of the party loyal to Governor Rochas Okorocha).
He adjourned till October 23 for hearing.
When parties got to court yesterday, Justice Musa said he would not be able to proceed as scheduled because the Imo State chapter of the APC had written a petition against him, querying his objectivity in handling the matter.
The judge read out the petition, dated October 22, addressed to him and copied the court’s Chief Judge.
It is titled: “Judicial Bias, Misconduct and Partiality By the Court.”
The petition was signed by Bisike Chinaka, Deputy Chairman of the party in the state.
It accused Justice Musa of favouring Uzodinma by granting orders in his favour.
The petition criticised the judge for granting an order directing the party to show why the name of Uzodinma should not be forwarded to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as candidate of the party in next year’s governorship election in Imo State.
After reading the petition to the open court, the judge told parties that he would not be able to proceed with the matter.
He averred that since the petition was copied to the Chief Judge, he would await his reaction before taking the next step.
He adjourned the matter indefinitely.
The petition read: “Following the cancellation of the APC primary for the party’s candidate for the 2019 Imo State governorship election, on October 4, Senator Hope Uzodinma filed an action against the APC and the INEC.
“The matter was assigned to his Lordship Othman Musa of Court 13, Bwari Judicial Division. On October 5, his Lordship made an order that the parties should show why the exparte application should not be granted.
“Therefore, Ugwunba Uche Nwosu also initiated an action in relation to the primary for APC candidate for the 2019 Imo governorship election and the matter was assigned to his Lordship Valentine Ashi of Court 23, Apo Judicial Division.
“His Lordship granted an Interim Order of Injunction on October 9 against APC and INEC to the effect that they must respectively send and receive Ugwumba Uche Nwosu’s name as the party’s candidate for the election. Unfortunately, since this order was made, we have noticed that the proceedings before you, which we have keenly watched, appeared to be skewed in favour of Hope Uzodinma, instead of both parties being treated equally.
“For instance, the court is always referring to the order to show cause granted in favour of Hope Uzodinma while ignoring the others made in favour of Ugwumba Uche Nwosu as though the latter orders were made by an inferior court.
“We strongly accuse you of bias and unable to discharge the oath of your office, as such recuse yourself forthwith and remit the case file to the Chief Judge.”