ENUGU: JUDGE WASHES HANDS OFF SUIT AGAINST GOV CHIME
The controversy trailing the suit seeking to truncate the tenure of Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State took a different dimension as the presiding Judge, Justice Gladys K. Olotu yesterday washed her hands off the case and transferred it to another court on the order of the Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta.
The suit was challenging the emergence of Governor Sullivan Chime at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Enugu State primary that made him candidate and eventually governor-elect.
The plaintiff and PDP governorship aspirant, Chief Alexander Chukwuemeka Obiechina had filed the suit after Governor Chime shifted the PDP primary election originally scheduled for January 9 to January 12. He had prayed the court to disqualify Governor Chime's emergence as the primary violated the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010.
When the matter came up yesterday, Chief Justina Offia (SAN), counsel to Governor Chime informed the court that the governor had petitioned the chief judge and the National Judicial Council over what transpired at the last sitting and urged the judge to disqualify herself from hearing and determining the matter. Plaintiff counsel, Oba Maduabuchi prayed the court to obey its earlier order of April 21, which fixed hearing for yesterday and heard the matter along with the application for disqualification.
In a brief ruling, Justice Olutu adjourned further hearing till May 23 but as soon as the court rose, the judge reconvened the court, vacated her earlier order and transferred the matter to Court 3. The court had in marathon sessions last week consolidated seven applications filed by counsel to Governor Chime, Mrs. Justina Offia (SAN) of which she lost all to the plaintiff, Chief Alexander Obiechina.
The matter which began at about 9:15am and lasted till 9:06pm was, however, adjourned to May 3 for judgment.
Justice Gladys K. Olutu made judicial pronouncement on the authentic flagbearer of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) for the governorship election with respect to the party primary that was conducted on January 12.
The plaintiff, Chief Obiechina approached the court to decide on which among the two parallel congresses for the PDP governorship primaries was the authentic one. In a separate matter contesting the election of Chime, an Abuja High Court presided over by Justice Abdu Kafarati, has ruled that Governor Chime was the rightful candidate of PDP in the election.