A judge of the Abuja Federal High Court, Maitama, Mr Justice A R Mohammed today withdrew from the case instituted against the nomination of Chief Dr Samuel Ortom as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Benue State by four aggrieved aspirants.
Justice Mohammed remitted the case file to the Chief Judge for reassignment to another judge.
His withdrawal followed the discovery that the plaintiffs had tried to subvert the court process to their advantage with the connivance of one of the court clerks.
Trouble started when the matter came up in court and counsel to one of the defendants, Sebastian Hon, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, announced that he was appearing under what he described as strong protest.
He stated that he had been deliberately served a hearing notice for Wednesday, 11th January, 2015 instead of today, Tuesday, 10th, so as to mislead him.
Mr Hon tendered the notice he had been served which upon receipt the judge conducted an open inquiry about what happened.
When summoned the Chief Registrar of the court who incidentally is a Benue indigene stated that she had directed a subordinate to issue the hearing notice for today and wondered why it carried tomorrow’s date.
The subordinate admitted committing what she said was an error and apologized.
The development led to heated arguments between Hon and S I Ameh, also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, who led counsels to the plaintiffs.
Mr Justice Mohammed listened to both parties and announced his decision to withdraw from the case.
Judicial sources observed that if the matter came up and counsels to the defendants failed to appear the court may have made orders that could have been detrimental to their interests.
Four governorship aspirants on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue, had dragged before an Abuja High Court, Comrade Abba Yaro, Dr. George Akume, the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the emergence of Dr. Samuel Ortom as the APC governorship candidate for the 2015 elections.
They prayed the court to stop the APC from forwarding to INEC the name of Chief Dr Samuel Ortom as the Benue State guber candidate.
The Applicants/Plaintiffs, otherwise known as the G.4, are: Sen. J.K.N. Waku, Prof. Steve Ugbah, Hon. Emmanuel Jime and Chief Mike Iordye while the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th
Respondents/Defendants in the matter are:
Abba Yaro, State APC Chairman; Dr. George Akume, Senate Minority Leader/State Party Leader; the APC and INEC respectively.