Rivers State Governorship’s Case: Matters Arising, By Okoi Obono-Obla
The allegation that the Chairman of the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal, Justice Suleiman Ambrosa that declared null and void that the Governorship election held in Rivers State of Nigeria on the 11th April, 2015 is related by marriage to the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari is unfounded, preposterous and outrageous.
I think the insinuation that Justice Ambrosa was bias against Governor Nyesom Wike and his Party, the Peoples Democratic Party because of his ‘relationship with President Buhari’ is totally and completely misplaced, an afterthought and ridiculous to say the least.
If Governor Wike and the PDP are very sure of this fact why didn’t they file a motion seeking that Justice Ambrosa disqualify himself or even written to the President of the Court of Appeal objecting to the appointment of Justice Ambrosa as the Chairman of the Tribunal before he delivered the judgment?
Why are Governor Wike and PDP trying to smear Justice Ambrosa or President Muhammadu Buhari?
It is unfair and mischievous for Governor Wike and his party (PDP) to insinuate that Justice Ambrosa was bias against him on account of his alleged relationship to President Muhammadu by marriage?
What I expect Governor Wike and his cohorts to do is to file a Notice of Appeal against the judgment of Justice Ambrosa in the Court of Appeal and seek for the setting aside of the judgment of the Tribunal rather than using the media to impugn the judgment and the tribunal and dragging into the mud the name of President Buhari.
I concede that a judge who is likely to be biased un favour of one of the parties that has a case before him for adjudication is a serious issue that infringes on the right of fair hearing of such a party.
However, any party in the litigation process who alleges that a judge is likely to be biased against him has a duty to prove the allegation by bringing forth weighty and credible evidence to substantiate same.
I also think the fact that Justice Ambrosa is allegedly married to the wife of President Buhari’s sister is not enough for him to have disqualified himself from hearing.
It is worthy to note that President Buhari and his wife are not parties in the Petition filed by Dr. Peterside Dakuku against the return of Governor Wike.
The membership of President Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (that Dr Peterside Dakuku also belongs) is too remote for anybody to use as the fulcrum to establish a case of his likelihood of bias against Governor Wike and PDP.
I am certain that if Governor Wike and PDP raise the issue of the alleged bias of Justice Ambrosa (a fresh issue which was not raised before the trial court can only be raised with leave of the Appellate Court) in the Court of Appeal; I can assure you that the Court of Appeal will throw same out if leave is not first sought and granted.
Surely, it will be an onerous task for Governor Wike and PDP to establish the fact that because Justice Ambrosa is married to the sister of Mrs Aisha Buhari he was biased against them.
There is no harm though if their facts are correct to seek leave of the appellate Court to raise such fresh issue.
Okoi Obono-Obla ?