Judge In Ayu’s Suspension Case Steps Down, Transfers File To Benue CJ
The State High Court sitting in Makurdi has adjourned further hearing of the suit seeking to remove the embattled National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu to April 28, 2023.
The presiding judge, Justice Kpochi however stated that he would be returning the case file to the Chief Judge of Benue State to reassign it to another judge as he would be embarking on a national assignment at the election petitions tribunal.
Justice Kpochi stated this at the hearing of the case on Monday.
Counsel to Senator Ayu, J.J Usman, SAN, had told the court that he was withdrawing Ayu’s preliminary objection and counter affidavit to the suit he filed on April 3rd, 2023.
However the lead counsel to Utaan, Emmanuel Ukala, SAN who did not object to the application for the withdrawal of the two processes however asked the court to award cost against Ayu, insisting that the plaintiff was prepared for hearing of the substantive suit.
Ukala, SAN told the court that the defendants only served him fresh processes while in court and he would have to respond to it.
He also submitted that counsels in the case had agreed that the preliminary objection and counter affidavit as well as the substantive suit be heard together on April 28th, 2023.
Ayu’s counsel, J.J Usman, SAN, affirmed the submission of Ukala, SAN.
Having listened to the submission of the counsels, Justice Kpochi adjourned the case to April, 28, 2023 for hearing of the substantive suit.
It will be recalled that Justice Kpochi had in March 27th 2023 issued an interim order restraining Senator Iyorchia Ayu from parading himself as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party pending the hearing and determination of the Suit No.MHC/85/2023, filed by a member of the party, Conrad Utaan, seeking to remove Ayu as National Chairman of the party
Utaan’s action was as a result of the suspension of the Ayu by his Igyorov ward executive members who met two days earlier and passed vote of no confidence in him.
Utaan, in the suit had sought among other reliefs; a declaration that, Dr. Ayu was no longer fit and qualified to hold office as the national chairman of the PDP, having lost membership of the party in his Igyorov Council Ward of Gboko, where he first registered as a member of the party.
It also sought a declaration that Ayu could no longer function and preside over the affairs of the PDP as its national chairman having seized to enjoy all the rights and privileges of membership by virtue of his suspension by the ward executive committee of the party in his Igyorov Council Ward of Gboko Local Government where he used to be a member of the party.