The battle between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State has taken a new twist, as the APC on Thursday, dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the PDP to court in two separate suits.
This comes after the PDP in July filed a suit before a Federal High Court to seek the non-recognition of APC candidates for the National Assembly election by INEC because the electoral umpire did not monitor the primaries, among other alleged discrepancies.
In one of the suits filed by the APC on Thursday, marked, FHC/PH/CS/162/2022, the party prayed a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt to disqualify the Governorship candidate of the PDP, Siminialayi Fubara from contesting the election over allegations that his party erred on some provisions of the new electoral act.
In the second suit, with number FHC/PH/CS/163/2022, the APC is seeking the powers of the court to disqualify all 32 candidates of the PDP for the State Assembly elections for same reasons.
The reasons are that the PDP delayed in forwarding the register containing the names of their candidates to the Independent National Electoral Commission within thirty days as required by law.
The APC also alleged that the party did not properly sign the letter containing the names of the candidates before forwarding it to the electoral umpire.
When the matter was mentioned in court today, counsel to the APC, C.C. Dike moved a motion exparte for a substituted service.
The Presiding Judge, Justice Ayuah Phoebe granted the request, and adjourned the matter to August 31 for hearing.
PDP’S FIRST JAB
The PDP in July filed a suit challenging the National Assembly primaries conducted by the APC in Rivers State, alleging that the exercise was not monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission, among other alleged infractions.
The case was last heard on July 25 and adjourned till August 29 following the request by the lawyer to the PDP for more time to respond to some processes.
Before that adjournment, the APC Candidate for Ikwerre/Emohua Federal Constituency, EZEMONYE EZEKIEL-AMADI, who appeared for himself made unsuccessful attempts to notify the Judge of a pending application.
Outside the courtroom on the said July 25, Mr. Ezekie-Amadi told journalists that his application was to ask the judge to recuse himself from th case owing to his alleged relationship with the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike who is the leader if the PDP in the state.
Justice Daylop-Pam must go, else
Earlier today, The National Assembly Candidates of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State met at the state secretariat of the Party in Port Harcourt to demand that the judge handling the PDP’s case against them, Justice Stephen Daylop-Pam recuses himself from handling the case.
Speaking for all the sixteen defendants in the PDP’s suit, except INEC, the candidate for Ikwerre/Emohua Federal Constituency, EZEMONYE EZEKIEL-AMADI accused the Judge of having the tendency of being bias due to his relationship with the Peoples Democratic Party and its leader, Governor Nyesom Wike.
“It may not be possible for us as responsible citizens to publicly revel or divulge all we know about the relationship between Justice Pam and Governor Nyesom Wike, the leader of the PDP in Rivers State, as well as all that we know today, that transpired in the VAT case between the Rivers State Government and the FIRS”.
He said they “know that the the relationship between Justice Pam and Governor Wike is a lot deeper than just casual”, which is why it’s not surprising that all the suits filed by the PDP seeking to delist other political parties from the 2023 election ballots are assigned to the Judge.
They also accused Justice Daylop-Pam of “coming in contact with the State Legal Adviser of the PDP, Kingsley Chukwu in respect of the matter in court”.
The APC candidates said what is surprising to them is the seeming reluctance of the Judge to tow the simple part of honour and recuse himself from the matter.
They believe Justice Stephen Daylop-Pam has lost the morality to continue the case because, if the case is in their favour, it could be said that the judge was cowed by their stance and if the judgement is otherwise, it could be said that it was to punish them for asking him to recuse himself.
The candidates vowed to resist the judge from continuing the matter, even if it means them suffering a similar fate like that of the human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong who was imprisoned for one month by the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State for contempt.
When reached out to for comments over allegations by the APC candidates against the PDP and its leader, the Legal Adviser of the PDP in Rivers State, Kingsley Chukwu declined to speak, saying it will be subjudice to speak on a matter that is before the court.