The three-man panel of Appeal Court Judges in Calabar, presiding over cases N0: CA/C/62/2019 and CA/C/70/2019 involving Etim John and others versus John Ochalla and others including Senator John Owan-Enoh representing other APC candidates in the 2019 elections, yielded to a petition before them and disqualified themselves from continuing in the case.
The judges, who recuse themselves from the case, however, left valid, the Stay of Execution Order which they had earlier granted on the cases recognizing Senator John Owan-Enoh and other candidates of APC who had their names published by INEC as validly nominated to stand the next election.
The lead Judge, Justice S. A. Owoade, had announced to the court that upon arriving his chambers in the morning, he was served with two petitions written by Etim John. He shared copies of the petitions with counsels to the parties and asked for their reactions.
The two petitions where separately addressed to the President of the Court of Appeal as well as to National Judicial Commission, (a non – exsting commission), alleging that he has lost confidence in the Justice Owoade-led panel of judges on the basis of an alleged N250 million graft.
The petition did not mention who paid the N250 million graft and to who in particular. Counsel to Senator Owan-Enoh, Awa Kalu, as well as counsel to the All Progressive Congress, Mba Ukweni, tried to point out that the petitions should be ignored as they were not dated and not properly routed by the petitioner.
The appellant’s counsel further pointed to the court that even the petition written to National Judicial Commission was a nullity because there was no entity as such in Nigeria. “It is a clear ploy to delay the case which had taken briefs of counsel and scheduled for hearing”, the appellant counsel maintained.