The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused Justice Vincent Nwancho of Ebony State High Court, of acting under the influence of the Governor of the State, Dave Umahi in a matter before his court, against the state’s helmsman.
Peoples Democratic Party and Ors, filed at the High Court of the state said, “the party is worried that Justice Vincent Nwancho is said to be under pressure to assume jurisdiction over the suit despite the transmission of the Record of Appeal and entering of the appeal in Appeal, challenging the jurisdiction of the trial court to hear the matter”.
The matter was filed by the former chairman of the PDP in Ebonyi State, Onyekachi Nwebonyi, challenging his removal by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the PDP in Ebonyi, which he has already alleged, is controlled by Governor Umahi.
At the resumed hearing of the matter, on 18 January 2021, the trial court attempted to deliver a ruling in respect of a motion for an interlocutory injunction, earlier filed by the deposed chairman of the PDP in Ebonyi State.
The PDP “contends that it is strange that the court was pressured to deliver a ruling in an application for an interlocutory injunction when the respondent is no longer within the powers and jurisdiction of the High Court stating that the appeal has already been entered at the Court of Appeal Enugu and Record of Appeal served on the trial court.
“It is reported that the court premises was filled with heavily armed policemen, including an armoured vehicle stationed at the entrance of the court. Upon interrogation, one of the policemen said they were on special assignment, having been informed that the State Government was expecting a ruling from the court.”
The party claimed that “the Chief Judge of the State, who recently recused himself from adjudicating in the matter, was also under some pressure from the State Government prior to his withdrawal from the matter.
“Similar fate had earlier befallen Justice Elvis Ngene, the first trial judge in the matter before the Chief Judge took over”
Commenting on the matter, a counsel on the side of the PDP, Mudi Erenede Esq, described what transpired in court as an unfortunate circus, stating that “Justice Vincent Nwanchor’s ruling come 20 January was already predictable”
He condemned the State Government’s alleged ”stranglehold” on the state judiciary, and promised that the PDP would pursue all legitimate complaints against erring judges before the National Judicial Commission.
Also Speaking on the development, member representing Afikpo North/ South Federal Constituency, Rep. Igariwey iduma Enwo condemned” the attempt by the state Governor to control the leadership of both the APC and PDP as a travesty of the basic tenets of democracy, which was bound to fail”.
He decried a situation whereby citizens have lost hope in the state judiciary as a result of the blackmail and overbearing influence of the Executive arm.