The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the February 23 National Assembly elections, Jones Onyeriri, has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to disqualify himself from the suit brought by Governor Rochas Okorocha seeking to be issued with certificate of return.
Following the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s report that Okorocha allegedly held the Returning Officer under duress to declare him winner of the Imo West Senatorial zone election, the governor, through his counsel, Kehinde Ogunmwumiju (SAN) is seeking an order of the court compelling the electoral commission to issue him a certificate of return as the senator-elect of the zone.
But in a motion on notice brought on his behalf by his lawyer, N.A. Nnawuchi (SAN), Onyeriri said the presiding judge, Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo should withdraw from the matter because of his utterances in which he “clearly prejudged the substantive issues that will be resolved in this matter and clearly showed he has taken sides with the plaintiff (Okorocha).”
In an affidavit deposed on his behalf by a lawyer, Chijioke Nzekwe, stated that Justice Taiwo on Friday told counsel to the INEC, Wendy Kuku that the commission was responsible for the problems in the election.
Justice Taiwo had on Friday admitted four candidates and political parties in the election who were challenging the suit by Okorocha. They are: Nwachukwu Goodluck Clement of KOWA Party; Uche Onyeoma Ibe of Labour Party; Precious Nwadike of the United Progressive Party (UPP) and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
The judge had directed parties to file and serve the court papers and adjourned the matter to Tuesday April 9 for hearing.