RT. HON. IGO AGUMA’S OPEN RESPONSE LETTER TO CHIEF JUSTICE OF NIGERIA.
My noble Lord,
RE: PETITION AGAINST HON. JUSTICE AUGUSTA U. KINGSLEY-CHUKU OF THE RIVERS STATE HIGH COURT FOR BREACH OF THE CODE OF CONDUCT FOR JUDICIAL OFFICERS.
- My noble Lord, I am the Claimant in Suit N0: PHC/4355/2019 and I am in receipt of a letter dated 27th of December, 2019 on the above subject-matter, allegedly written by
Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, who is the 3rd Defendant in the suit commenced on my instruction by my lawyers and presently pending before His Lordship, Hon. Justice Augusta U. Kingsley-Chuku. The said Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole would subsequently be referred to simply as the 3rd Defendant.
- Before I proceed to dislodge the rather ill-motivated and unwarranted attack on the person and integrity of His Lordship, Hon. Justice Augusta U. Kingsley-Chuku by the 3rd Defendant, let me point out here that the entire content of the vicious and ominous petition forwarded by the 3rd Defendant to your Lordship is false, concocted, unfounded and or hurriedly contrived by the 3rd Defendant to not only embarrass and unjustifiably malign His Lordship, Hon. Justice Augusta U. Kingsley-Chuku but also aimed at frustrating the speedy hearing and determination of my suit pending before His Lordship, Hon. Justice Augusta U. Kingsley-Chuku.
- The 3rd Defendant in a bid to justify his ill-motivated plan to frustrate the expeditious hearing and determination of my suit has set out what he termed, background unrelated and unconnected to my suit pending before His Lordship, Hon. Justice Augusta U. Kingsley-Chuku.
- My noble Lord, I am certain that it is the uncanny desperation of the 3rd Defendant, who clearly has his own purpose to serve that has made him unable to appreciate the real purport of my suit and to realize that even by his own narration, it has no
similarity or anything to do with the suit filed by one, Ibrahim Umah and others with Suit N0: PHC/3098/2019.
- To put in proper perspective, let me state here clearly, so that the 3rd Defendant, who has no doubt been given a very poor legal advice, may appreciate what elementary
commonsense may have afforded him. While, the suit filed by Ibrahim Umah and the other Claimants in that suit with Suit N0: PHC/3098/2019 sought to enforce their
rights to participate in the proposed wards and state congresses of the All Progressives Congress, my suit is seeking the interpretation of specific Articles of the Constitution of the All Progressives Congress for the sole purpose of determining, whether the action of the 3rd Defendant and my Party, the All Progressives Congress, who is sued as 2nd Defendant in my suit in setting up a Caretaker Committee for Rivers State to my exclusion, alongside other statutory members of the Party does not violate the Constitution of our Party and my rights, and whether by extension the setting up of the
Caretaker Committee for Rivers State as constituted is not in its entirety illegal in the face of our Partys Constitution and deserving of an Order of the Honourable Court
declaring it so.
- The Originating Summons was accompanied by a Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction, as well as a Motion Ex Parte for Interim Injunction supported with an Affidavit of Urgency seeking the same reliefs as the ones contained in the Motion on Notice. Indeed, my Ex Parte Application for interim injunction was heard by His
Lordship, Hon. Justice Augusta U. Kingsley-Chuku but same was refused by His Lordship. Whereupon, my lawyers applied for a short date to bring the necessary application before the Court.
- On the 17th of December, 2019, being the next adjourned date, my Counsel filed an Application for abridgement of time to hear and determine the Motion on Notice
within two (2) days and also sought leave to serve all the Defendants, including the 3rd Defendant by substituted means. Interestingly, on that day, the Defendants Counsel,
Emenike N. Ebete, Esq was in Court seated at the front row of the Court and observed the entire proceedings of that day.
- The Court after hearing my lawyers led by the Learned Silk, Echezona Chukwudi Etiaba, SAN granted the application and adjourned the matter to the 20th of December, 2019. But that was not all. In the spirit of ensuring fairness to all the Defendants, my lawyers made all the processes filed on my behalf, which include the Originating Summons, the Motion Ex Parte for Interim Injunction, Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction and the Motion for abridgement of time in my case file available to the Defendants lawyer, Emenike N. Ebete, Esq.
- My noble Lord, even if the Defendants lawyer was availed all the Court processes filed on my behalf in the morning of 17th December, 2019 as advance copies, although the Defendants were still formally served on the same 17th of December, 2019 and were also aware that the Court had slated the 20th of December, 2019 for the hearing of the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction, the Defendants did not serve their Counter-Affidavit and Written Address, which was filed on the 19th of December, 2019 on my lawyers, but waited till the 20th of December, 2019, which the Court had fixed for the hearing of my Motion for Interlocutory Injunction, and served my lawyers right in the Court room.
- As my noble Lord is fully aware, 20th of December, 2019 was the last official day the High Court of Rivers State sat before proceeding on vacation. Thus, my lawyers having been ambushed, with no opportunity of filing further processes in reaction to the Defendants processes, sought the maintenance of the status quo pending the hearing and determination of my Motion on Notice, since it was impracticable for them to file the required processes that same day and be heard by the Honourable Court that same day, as I was in fact out of Rivers State on that day.
- My lead Counsel, Echezona Chukwudi Etiaba, SAN informed me that he made the application for the maintenance of the status quo while relying on decisions of the appellate Courts, including the Supreme Court, to wit: the cases of Adefarati v Governor, Ondo State (2006) All FWLR (Pt. 302) 54 @ 63 and Bello v Governor, Gombe State (2016) 8 NWLR (Pt. 1514) 219 @ 285.
12.The Court after taking arguments on both sides as touching the application of my lawyers found merit in the application and granted same, taking into consideration the
reliefs sought on the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction.
13. It is not correct that the Court abridged the time the Defendants were meant to respond to my Originating Summons as the 3rd Defendant would wish to my noble Lord to believe. The Defendants had their twenty-one (21) days as per the Rules of the High Court of Rivers State to respond to my Originating Summons. I challenge the 3rd Defendant to produce any Order of His Lordship, Hon. Justice Augusta U. Kingsley-Chuku abridging the time the Defendants ought to respond to my Originating Summons. Such an Order only exists in the figment of the 3rd Defendants imagination.
14. It frightens and shocks me, that the 3rd Defendant who ought to know better, could easily cast aspersions on the person and integrity of a Judge and seek for the compulsory retirement of a Judge, simply because the Judge fearlessly upheld the law. I dare say my noble Lord, that there are now only very few Judges in this Country,
who are as courageous and fearless as His Lordship, Hon. Justice Augusta U. Kingsley-Chuku, due to the rampant intimidation and molestation of Judges and Justices across the Country. Mainly, when the 3rd Defendant is a critical stakeholder in our Party, which controls all the agencies with which the Judges and Justices have
constantly been intimidated. His Lordship, Hon. Justice Augusta U. Kingsley-Chuku deserves commendation and not condemnation for doing that which only very few Judges would have done in such a time we are in as a Country, when even if it is the
true position of the law the Judge is not safe.
- It is shallow and lame for the 3rd Defendant to insinuate that His Lordship, Hon. Justice Augusta U. Kingsley-Chuku may not be able to fairly discharge her duties without fear or favour simply because, according to the 3rd Defendant, His Lordships husband is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party in Rivers State. One wonders what relationship the fact that His Lordships husband is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, has to do with my suit when the Peoples Democratic Party is not a party in the suit pending before His Lordship.
16. My noble Lord, for the avoidance of doubt, there are only three (3) Defendants in my suit pending before His Lordship, Hon. Justice Augusta U. Kingsley-Chuku and they are: (1) Mr. Isaac Abott Ogbubula, who is the Chairman of the ill-fated Caretaker Committee, whose Constitutionality I am challenging
(2) All Progressives Congress
and (3) Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, as first, second and third Defendants respectively. The insinuation of the 3rd Defendant therefore has no bearing but only clearly portrays the desperation of the 3rd Defendant to have things his way no matter injury done, even if it means denigrating the person and integrity of a fearless and courageous Judge who upholds the law.
17.The instances of Hon. Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, President of the Court of Appeal and Hon. Justice Mary Peter-Odili, JSC cited by the 3rd Defendant are clearly non
sequitur, as the circumstances that existed in those scenarios where their Lordships had to recuse themselves are distinctly absent from my case. I am surprised the 3rd Defendant who is the National Chairman of my Party does not know this.
- Let me also put it on record and I have it on good authority as communicated to me by my lead Counsel, Echezona Chukwudi Etiaba, SAN that the Defendants lawyer never drew the attention of the Honourable Court to any letter on the 20th of December, 2019. The Defendants lawyer only informed the Court that he wishes to file further
documents in the suit, same having been recently brought to his attention by one of his Clients. The 3rd Defendant who was not in Court could not have known that the
alleged letter was brought to the attention of the Honourable Court.
- It is my view that the 3rd Defendant and by extension, all the Defendants have not made out any case of bias or lack of integrity or breach of the Code of Conduct for
Judges against His Lordship, Hon. Justice Augusta U. Kingsley-Chuku. All the allegations simply fly in the air, without any substance.
- Surely, the Defendants are hopeful that if your Lordship accedes to their request of
compulsorily retiring His Lordship, Hon. Justice Augusta U. Kingsley-Chuku, they would have succeeded in setting a path way to further intimidate Judges who dare
uphold the law, in so far as it is against their interest.
21.It is further surprising and curious that the Defendants having filed an appeal against the Order made on the 20th of December, 2019 by His Lordship, Hon. Justice Augusta U. Kingsley-Chuku, which is indeed the proper procedure to challenge any Order a party is not satisfied with in our jurisprudence, now insist on having His Lordship
compulsorily retired for upholding the law. I dare say my noble Lord that to allow the Defendants to have it both ways will not be in the interest of justice, equity and
fairness but would further embolden the Defendants to have all the Judges who ever give an Order against them in any part of this Country compulsorily retired. This is not a precedent that your Lordship would want to establish. God forbid!
22.I urge your Lordship to discard the Defendants watery petition and sternly warn and make an example of them for the larger society to know that nobody wakes up from
the bed and starts making unfounded and malicious allegations against the person of a
23.I have painstakingly set out the true position of the matter, so as to aid your Lordship to clearly see the condescending antics of the Defendants. I am confident that your Lordship would disregard the spurious allegations against His
Lordship, the Hon. Justice Augusta U. Kingsley-Chuku and resist the pressure of the Defendants to have their way.
Find here enclosed the Notice of Appeal filed by the Defendants against the Order made on 20th of December, 2019 by His Lordship, Hon. Justice Augusta U. Kingsley-Chuku.
Please accept the assurances of my highest regards.
Rt. Hon. Igo Aguma
This post was published on January 24, 2020 4:45 pm