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Despite Motion Accusing Judge Of Being Governor Wike's Friend, Justice Refuses To Recuse Self From PDP’s Suit Seeking Nullification Of APC Primaries In Rivers

October 3, 2022

The suit is seeking to delist all legislative candidates of the All Progressives Congress in the state for the 2023 general elections.

Justice Stephen Pam, a Nigerian Judge accused of being friends with Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has refused to recuse himself from the suit filed at the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

The suit is seeking to delist all legislative candidates of the All Progressives Congress in the state for the 2023 general elections.

Rivers PDP had approached the court to nullify the candidature of the APC candidates on the basis that the primaries that produced them were done in violation of the provisions of the Electoral Act (amended).

However, in a motion on notice filed by one of the candidates, Nwuzi Ephraim, Justice Pam was asked to recuse himself from the suit.

The judge was accused of being a friend of Governor Wike.

“An Order of this Honourable Court recusing itself be continued hearing and determination of this NO.: FHC/PH/CS/127/2022 Peoples Democratic Party vs. Independent National Electoral Commission & 17th others pending before this Court,” part of the court document read.

“An Order of this Honourable Court remitting the case file of this Suit to the Honourable Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for reassignment to another Judge of the Federal High Court in the Abuja Judicial Division of the Court.”

In an affidavit presented before the court, Ephraim said the governor once boasted that he gifted Justice Pam a landed property in Port Harcourt.

He said, “That I am aware that for some months now even before the institution of this suit, the Governor of Rivers State, Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike and Ambassador Desmond Akawo, who is the Rivers State Chairman the Plaintiff in Rivers State have publicly been boasting that the All Progressives Congress APC will not be on the ballot for 2023 general elections.

“That on or about the 02/07/2022, just about three days after the filing of this Suit, the aforesaid Governor Wike and Ambassador Desmond Akawor in a meeting with their party candidates assured them that would not have the All Progressives Congress candidates to contest the 2023 general elections against them as they had just filed this instant suit against the National Assembly candidates of the APC (2nd Defendant). They also boasted that in the corning days, they would also file fresh suits against the Governorship and Assembly candidates of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State.

“They assured those of their candidates present in that meeting that they were sure of getting the Federal High Court sitting in Harcourt to nullify the candidature of candidates of the APC in Rivers.

“They also boasted that this matter before Justice Daylop Pam Judge, sitting at Federal High Court 4 in Port Harcourt was a walk-over since the judge is a bosom friend of the Governor and that it was that friendship that facilitated the judgment the Rivers State Government got from this Court in controversial VAT case last year.

“Governor Wike in one of his outbursts had claimed that he had gifted a landed property located at the Old GM Port Harcourt go Hon Justice Stephen Daylop Pam and his colleagues in Port Harcourt Division.

“They further boasted that since the New Federal High Court building housing the Court halls in the Port Harcourt of the Federal High Court was built and donated by Governor Nyesom Wike, several other gifts and largesse he had occasionally extended to the judges of this Port Harcourt Division, he was very sure of getting favourable judgement against me and the other defendants on record no matter the state of the law on subject area.”

However, sources told SaharaReporters that Justice Pam has failed to recuse himself from the suit and re-assign the matter to another judge as requested by one of the defendants.

Wike is currently at loggerheads with some chieftains of the PDP over his demand that the national chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu should resign from office.

Wike accused Iyorchia of working for Atiku Abubakar in the party’s presidential primary in May, which he lost to Atiku.