Presiding Judge withdraws from Cross River PDP suit

Justice Elias Abua of a vacation Court sitting at the High Court complex, Calabar in Cross River State has withdrawn from the suit challenging the inauguration of ward and local government executive committees of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

The suit is between Pastor Otu Edet Marshall, Mr Terence Orok, Raphael Stephen Ntui and Henry Ekpenyong Edem (all applicants) and the PDP, the National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, National Organising Secretary, Col. Austin Akobundu (rted) and State Chairman of PDP, Ntufam Edim Inok

The plaintiffs instituted a legal action challenging the inauguration of ward and local government executive committees.

The applicants had claimed to have emerged in the ward congress conducted by Ntufam Edim Inok-led state executive committee but were not inaugurated.

After listening to the motion, Justice Elias Abua withdrew from the case and refused to grant the claimants’ prayers that the court restrain the national leadership of the party from acting on any list except one submitted by the Edim Inok-led state executive in relation to the March 7 and 21, 2020 ward and local government congresses in the state.

Making the pronouncement on Wednesday, Justice Abua refused to grant an interlocutory injunction and returned the case file to the Acting Chief Judge of the State, Justice Maurice Eneji, for re-assignment.

Justice Abua said: “I am a man of integrity and has worked hard to earn my reputation and would not want to spoil it for any reason. I would return the case file to the Acting Chief Judge for re-assignment.”

Commending the presiding judge, the Counsel to PDP, Mba Ukweni, SAN, said what transpired at the court was an indication that a common man can still obtain justice at the courts.

“I have known him as a man of honour and integrity. What he did today was true to his character because justice is rooted in confidence.

“So, once a party to a dispute doesn’t have confidence in the adjudicator, it becomes something else. I commend him for not wanting to dent his reputation by doing the honourable thing which honourable judges do in matters as this,” he said.

Ukweni explained that there was no need for the litigation at this time of the legal year when courts are on vacation, explaining that the case was not an urgent one and therefore ought not to have been brought before a vacation judge in the first place.

He further argued that it would have been a travesty of justice for anybody to try and obtain an injunction at this auspicious time when the state congress is holding on Saturday, August 8, 2020.

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