By Wandoo Sombo
Senator Osita Izunaso has petitioned the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Adamu Abdu-Kafarati, over the ongoing case between Imo Governor, Rochas Okorocha and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
A copy of the document, submitted to the court, was obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.
Izunaso wants the chief judge to intervene on account of the way Justice Okon Abang is allegedly handling the case over Okorocha’s Certificate of Return.
Izunaso articulated his position in the petition titled: “Re Suit No/FHC/ABJ)CS/296/2019-Rochas Okorocha vs INEC and others, Petition against Hon. Justice O.E Abang.
Izunaso, who is the third defendant in the suit is seeking the intervention of the chief judge against the way the judge is conducting the case.
He premised his petition on the grounds that the judge allegedly disqualified the counsel of his choice and imposed another unknown one on him.
He also alleged that the judge refused to recognise a motion he obtained from the Court of Appeal for stay of proceedings.
Izunaso said:”Other prejudicial acts to frustrate the proceedings in this case, the detailed facts in respect of the complaint are contained in my affidavit attached to this petition.”
During the last adjourned date, the judge ordered that the counsel who represented Izunaso previously, Mr Orji Nwafor-Orizu, must present a certificate of mental fitness before he would continue to appear in court.
The judge had also insisted that Nwafor-Orizu must sign an undertaking to be of good conduct through out the hearing, not only in the Federal High Court but all courts of superior records.
At the resumed hearing on Monday, Izunaso was in court but not represented by counsel as both Nwafor-Orizu and S .M Anichebe, who the court had recognised as his counsel, were absent.
He, therefore, applied for an adjournment to enable him engage another counsel to represent him in court pending when Nwafor-Orizu would comply with the orders of the court.
In an affidavit of facts deposed to by him, Izunaso said that he traveled out of the country but had to urgently return to ensure that he engaged a new counsel to represent him,
He pleaded with the court not to visit the sin of the counsel on the litigant, saying that he did not engage Anichebe who the court recognised.
He further told the court that he was not a lawyer and was therefore not competent to represent himself.
The judge, however, ruled that Anichebe was the counsel on record representing Izunaso and his absence in court without a reason was a sign of disrespect to the court.
The judge also asked Izunaso to argue his case failing which he would deem all processes filed on his behalf as adopted.
Justice Abang also said Izunaso was bound by the action of his counsel and he ordered that the processes filed on behalf of Izunaso were deemed adopted even within adumbration.
Izunaso, in an interview, told newsmen that he would appeal against the decision of the court because he had been shut out and denied fair hearing.
The matter was adjourned until May 21 for continuation.