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PDP Expresses Lack of Confidence in FHC Judge, Seeks to Withdraw, Transfer Its Cases



The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused Justice Inyang Ekwo of bias in his handling of cases involving it and has consequently asked the Chief Judge to transfer all their cases to another judge.

The accusation was contained in a letter written to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court and signed by the party’s National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, and National Secretary, Senator Samuel Anyanwu.

Specifically, the PDP had demanded for the transfer of suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/123/2023; between  Siminialayi Fubara and others vs PDP & 5 ORS; suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/112/2023- between Amb. Desmond vs PDP & 2 ORS; suit number: FHC/ASJ/CS/215/2023- between Send Sandy and anor vs PDP & 5 ORS; and all other cases involving the People’s Democratic Party.

The PDP in the application had said, “We are constrained to bring this application to your Lordship to transfer the above listed cases and ail other cases involving our Party from Hon. Justice I. E. Ekwo due to circumstances showing or demonstrating manifest bias/grave likelihood of bias on the part of Hon. Justice I. E. Ekwo against the party.

The PDP claimed that Justice Ekwo “is in the monotonous alternative habit of issuing injurious ex parte Orders against the Party”.

According to them, in the build up to the 2022 primary elections of the Party, the judge had issued “series of harmful ex parte Orders against the Party which eventually caused the Party huge electoral misfortune at the 2023 general elections”.

They mentioned suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/598/2022- between Hon. Monday Iyore Osagie & Ors Vs Peoples Democratic Party & Ors as one of the cases the judge had issued damaging ex parte Orders against the Party.

Ekwo was said to have issued ex parte order on May 6, 2022 restraining the lawful ad hoc delegates who emerged from the Ward congresses conducted by the National Leadership of the Party from participating in the Party’s Primary Elections in Edo State.

“This singular Order caused deep division and disaffection in the Party which eventually affected the fortune of the party in Edo State.

“Suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/123/2023- between Siminialayi Fubara and other vs PDP & 5 ORS. This is a case filed by all the Candidates of the Party in Rivers State praying that they should not be suspended from the Party.

“The case borders on the internal affairs of the Party over which the Court has no jurisdiction to entertain yet Justice I. E. Ekwo granted ex parte Order against the Party.

“Suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/215/2023- Between Sen. Prof. Sandy Onor & Anor VS PDP & 5 Ors. This is a case filed by the Cross River State Governorship and Deputy Governorship Candidates of the Party asking that they should remain members of the Party. The case borders on the internal affairs of the Party over which the Court has no jurisdiction to entertain yet Justice I. E. Ekwo granted ex parte Order against the Party”, the party stated.

In the case between Amb. Desmond Akawor VS PDP & 2 Ors, the PDP pointed out certain alleged “strange developments which leave no one in doubt that Justice I. E. Ekwo has predetermined the case”.

According to the petitioner, the Plaintiff filed its Originating Summons on January 25, 2023, while filed its counter affidavit and Notice of

preliminary Objection challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to hear and determine the matter on February 6.

“When the matter came up for hearing on the same February 6, 2023, the Judge refused to hear the party’s preliminary objection and instead made an order that parties should maintain status quo till the final determination of the matter in the face of the pending objection challenging his jurisdiction.

“On March 9, 2023, the Plaintiff filed motion for amendment of the Originating Summons alongside motion on notice. The reliefs introduced in the amendment being sought and the Motion on Notice is to restrain the Party and its National Officers from denying the Rivers State Legal Adviser of the Party the right to represent or appoint External Solicitors to represent the Party.

“While Notice of Preliminary Objection challenging the jurisdiction, Motions for amendment and for interlocutory injunction are pending, Justice Ekwo on March 13, 2023 entertained another ex parte application seeking the very reliefs contained in the pending Motion on Notice and strangely made ex parte Order asking the Party to show cause why the reliefs should not be granted.

“In his haste to perpetrate injustice against the Party, Justice I. E. Ekwo in the ex parte Order of March 13, 2023 spelt the name of the Party as “la PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PD 21”. As if that is not enough mischief, Justice I. E. Ekwo equally announced himself as Counsel for the Applicant in the case thus: “And after hearing DR. J. Y. Musa, SAN with Hon. Justice I. E. Ekwo Douglas Moru, Esq) of Counsel for the Applicant”. Find attached copy of the ex parte order. This show clearly, that Justice Ekwo is not only bias but has also stooped from the sacred judicial office into handling the brief of the Plaintiff”.

The petitioners stated that apart from being unable to understand the motivation for the ceaseless ex parte Order being granted against the PDP by Justice Ekwo, the party has noted with displeasure the thread with which cases involving the Rivers, Cross Rivers and Edo State Chapters of the Party always find their way to Justice Ekwo.

Adding that in all of these cases, the outcome is always certain an ex parte Order and eventual judgment against the Party.

“Even when it is obvious that the Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain

the matter, Justice I. E. Ekwo always foist jurisdiction on himself in his voyage of injustice against the Party.

“Justice is rooted in confidence and that confidence is destroyed where right minded people go away with the impression that the Judge has a preconceived opinion or predisposition to decide the cause or an issue in a certain way which does not leave the mind perfectly open to conviction.

“The Peoples Democratic Party as a Political Party has lost in Justice I. E. Ekwo and we are convinced that he has a preconceived predisposition to always decide cases involving the Party with bias”.

They prayed the CJ to in view of the forgoing, transfer the above cases and all other cases involving the Party from Hon. I. E. Ekwo.

“We further request that cases involving the Party should no longer be assigned to him”, they prayed.


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Fuel Subsidy Removal: FG, Labour Meeting Ends in Deadlock




Talks between the Federal Government and organised labour over the removal of fuel subsidy ended in a deadlock on Wednesday as they failed to reach a consensus following the hike in petrol pump prices to over N700 from N195 per litre by oil marketers.

The hours-long meeting which was held at the Presidential Villa was to, among other things, prevent a labour crisis following the recent increase in the petrol pump price occasioned by the discontinuance of petroleum subsidy.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited said it had adjusted the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit to reflect the market realities. The agency, however, failed to state the new prices of petrol.

However, several retails outlets sold the product between 600 and N800 in Lagos, Abuja , Ogun and some other states.

The National Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Chinedu Ukadike, pointed out that the hike in the cost of PMS would trigger galloping inflation in the country, stressing that some outlets in the South-East were currently dispensing the product at N1,200/l.

Ukadike stated, “Once NNPCL retail stations have adjusted their pumps to reflect the new price, there is nothing you can do about it; that is the new price. As I speak with you, all of them are now selling at the new prices. The situation is so bad, that somewhere in Ebonyi State our members informed us that it is now N1,200/litre.

“We thought the President would remove the subsidy through a seamless means because the source of this petrol is the NNPCL. They are the ones subsidising petroleum products, they are the people who use their revenue to subsidise this product.’’

The IPMAN spokesperson expressed worry over the rate of increase in inflation and hardship that would come as a result of the latest hike in petrol price.

“This hike in petrol price will definitely lead to galloping inflation and will worsen the hardship already being faced by the Nigerian masses. It is not something to cheer about. It came as a surprise and in the coming days, we will see the very harsh ripple effects,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Ukadike has called on the Federal Government and the NNPCL to give other marketers the opportunity to start importing petrol in order to create competition in the sector.

“The NNPCL is importing and has not given people the opportunity to join them in importing so as to see whether private sector operators can import the product cheaper or not. So there is no competition. In a deregulated regime, there must be competition, everyone with capacity should be allowed to import,” the IPMAN official stated.

When asked whether other marketers could resume imports since the government had finally deregulated petrol prices, Ukadike replied, “Marketers can import, but let me tell you some of the factors militating against this. The first is that there won’t be availability of dollars.

“You will source your dollar from the parallel market and if you are not careful in doing this, and you go into the importation of petroleum products, you might not ‘come out of it alive’ at the end of the day.

“So what we are saying is that those advantages that NNPCL has, should be shared with other major importers of petroleum products. If it is through crude buy-back, they should let us know so that independent players such as IPMAN members can come together and be able to use it in the buy-back model.’’

He added, “For independent marketers, the most important thing is that there should be availability of petroleum products, and the government should open up the space for importers and investors to come in.”

NNPCL, the sole importer of petrol into Nigeria for several years running, confirmed the hike in petrol price in a statement and a new pricing template released to marketers nationwide.

But the move has sparked a groundswell of anger across the nation with the Nigeria Labour Congress demanding an immediate reversal of the decision.

The union also said it would hold an emergency meeting on Friday on the fuel price increase which had triggered hoarding and scarcity across the country with attendant rise in transport fares, goods and services.

The fuel price hike by the oil firm is coming 72 hours after President Bola Tinubu declared in his inaugural address on Monday that the subsidy regime had ended.

To pacify the growing anger over the situation, the FG hastily summoned some labour leaders to a meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday evening.

The meeting had in attendance the NLC President, Joe Ajaero and his Trade Union Congress counterpart, Festus Osifo, former NLC President and immediate past governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, Head of Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan, Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPCL, Mele Kyari, and others, however, ended in a deadlock as the labour and government teams failed to reach a consensus.

Speaking at the end of the meeting, Joe Ajaero, said “As far as labour is concerned, we didn’t have a consensus in this meeting.”

He faulted the NNPCL over an official release published hours earlier reviewing the petrol pump price in its filling stations nationwide.

He said the move puts the labour unions in a difficult position on the negational table.

“That’s the principle of negotiation. You don’t put the partner, ask them to negotiate under gunpoint. The prayer of the NLC is that we go back to the status quo, negotiate, think of alternatives and all the effects and how to manage the effects this action is going to have on the people. If it is an action that must take off.

“The subsidy provision has been made up to the end of June. And before then, conscious people, labour management, and the government should be able to think of what will happen at the end of June. You don’t start it before the time,” Ajaero said.

The Punch

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Breaking: Founder, DAAR Communications, Raymond Dokpesi is Dead




By Eric Elezuo

The Founder of DAAR Communications, owners of the foremost radio and television stations in Nigeria, Raypower and African Independent Television (AIT), High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, is dead.

Reliable sources said the High Chief died while exercising on a treadmill on Monday afternoon.

The source said Dopkesi suffered a stroke some weeks ago.

Details soon…

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I Stand on Rule of Law, with Our Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, PDP, Says Dele Momodu




By Eric Elezuo

Frontline journalist and Director of Strategic Communications of the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Council in the just concluded Presidential election, Chief Dele Momodu, had said that he remains a loyal member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and will always stand on the side of rule of law, and with the party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

Momodu made the revelations in a statement he signed himself, noting that the last election, which brought Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to power, was savagely manipulated by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

He praised the steps Atiku, and the presidential candidate of the Labour candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, have taken in seeking legal redress.

The statement in details:


My position on the state of our country NIGERIA is simple and straightforward. I’m a loyal member of PDP who owes absolute allegiance to Nigeria and its Rule of Law. My political party PDP and others passionately hold the view that the last Presidential election was savagely manipulated by the ruling party APC and the cases are already in courts. Nothing will make me abandon my party on the altar of convenience and profit. Win or lose, I will continue to stand on this principle without any malice or prejudice against those who think otherwise. Democracy is a game of choice and I’m resolutely standing by our candidate, the former Vice President ALHAJI ATIKU ABUBAKAR (GCON) who has taken the honorable and peaceful step of going to court to seek redress. This is the only way we can deepen our hard earned Democracy. Sacrifice is not always convenient but painful.

I salute and respect The Wazirin Adamawa and others like my dear friend and Brother, former Governor Peter Obi, the Labor Party Presidential candidate, for promoting the best tenets of Democracy in Nigeria and I’m willing to encourage them rather than discourage their onerous quests…


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