The presiding judge, Justice Vincent Nwanchor handling the case of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abakaliki High Court Monday withdrew from the matter.
Onyekachi Nwebonyi’s faction of PDP had filed a petition challenging the dissolution of the State Executive Committee of the PDP.
Justice Nwanchor during the sitting yesterday hands off the case after Barrister Mudi Erhenede who is the 8th defendant in the case, and the counsel to Chief Fred Udeogu’s led faction of PDP raised a matter of fact, that the presiding judge and the Deputy governor of Ebonyi state were brothers from the same local government and the same community.
After much argument from both parties, the judge recused himself from the matter.
He said, “after much argument, I agree with the fact that the defence council is right, I will not deny the fact that His Excellency, the Deputy governor of Ebonyi state, Barr. Kelechi Igwe is my brother, we came from the same community, and that it will affect ruling of the case which it has not, I therefore wish to recuse the case to the registrar”.
This withdrawal is the third time a presiding judge was recusing himself from the case after Justice Elvis Ngene and the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Anslem Nwaigwe did same some weeks ago when the matter was handed over to them.
The suit slated for ruling on the 18th of this month was deferred till 20th of January following an application by Counsel to the defendants, Chief Mudi Erenede that they had filed an appeal on the jurisdiction of the State High Court.
Addressing journalists shortly after the court sitting in Abakaliki, Onyekachi Nwebonyi, the embattled chairman of the other faction of PDP said, “It’s very unfortunate today is the second day we are expecting the ruling of the court but the defendants in their usual way continued to truncate the proceedings of the court in this matter, and have again raised another issue of bias on the side of the court which is apparently unfounded, but the court for the interest of Justice have just recused herself from continuing hearing the matter and has accordingly transferred the matter and I believe that the court in no time will reassign the case to another court.
“I want to put the record straight, that this is a delay tactic by the defendants knowing fully well that the law is not on their side”.
The caretaker chairman of PDP, chief Fred Udeogu on his part, refuted the accusation by Nwebonyi, maintaining that his party has come this far because they have been presenting the fact in the court.
“It is not true the fact is that all the defense causes we have gone through were all genuine, that’s why we have been getting there right from the Chief Judge down to this”.
the counsel to Fred Udeogu’s led PDP caretaker committee commended the judge for doing the proper thing.
“The outcome of the court is that the court has done what the law expects of him and he has sent the case file to the chief judge to reassign to any judge of his choice so that is the stage we are when they bring a new judge we will go there and determine what will happen”.
Counsel to the plaintiff, Barristèr Roy Nweze while reacting to the development said the state High court lack bold judges.
“The problem we have in the judiciary is that we lack bold judges, what we have are judges who are so easily giving in to unnecessary, stupid intimidation. But nothing has gone wrong absolutely nothing, there is a suit that has been filed so definitely the suit must be hard. If the suit portrays danger the danger must be heard.
There is nothing we will do now, if election will be taking place in the state now we will know the truth”.