Judge recuses self from Ogun PDP suits over allegation of bias

Justice M S Abubakar of a Federal High Court in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, has withdrawn from further hearing of two cases about leadership tussle in the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over allegation of partiality levelled against him by one of the parties in the suits.

The judge, in an order dated June 18, said it would be improper for him to continue to hear the cases after one of the parties has lost confidence in him.

The suit number FHC/AB/CS/24/2020 filed by Chief Bayo Dayo and Bimbo Lanre-Balogun has the PDP, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Semiu Sodipo as defendants.

“I would like to bring to the notice of all counsel in this case and its sister case suit number FHC/AB/CS/44/2020 that I have read from the social media that the defendant through one Elder Yemi Akinwonmi has written a petition to the Honourable Chief Judge of Federal High Court requesting for transfer of this case to another Judge because they lost confidence in me for being biased against them.

“I have also been served with a copy of the reply to the petition written by the plaintiffs and also addressed to the Honourable Chief Judge.

“In the petition, it was alleged that the plaintiffs are bragging in town to the hearing of the teeming supporters of the first defendant, that they have already compromised me and bought the judgments in the two cases and that no counsel, however brilliant can change the situation.

“In view of the allegation, I am of the respectful view that it will not be proper for me to continue to hear these cases since one of the parties has lost confidence in me.

“Consequently, the case ought to be and is hereby transferred to Honourable Chief Judge of Federal High Court for him to assign the same to another judge who will hear and determine it to a conclusion.

“This order shall apply mutatis mutandis to suit number FHC/CS/44/2020 which I have earlier referred to. This order is given in the interest of fair hearing and justice,” Justice Abubakar said.

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