By Toby Prince
The judge, Abdulaziz Anka, handling the alleged certificate forgery suit instituted against Adamawa State Governor Jibrilla Bindow has recused himself.
Mr Anka announced his withdrawal from the case “on personal grounds” saying he would return the case file to the chief judge of the Federal High Court for re-assignment to another judge.
Mr Bindow was alleged to have forged his secondary school certificate, prompting a rights group, Global Crusade Integrity Network (GICN) to file a case against him before an Abuja Federal High Court in September last year.
Had the move by the group to get the governor indicted succeeded, brother to the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, known as Modi, would have been the major beneficiary having emerged the first runner-up in the disputed All Progressive Congress (APC) primaries in the state.
The case was initially filed before an Abuja Federal High Court presided by B. O Kadri who granted the plaintiff’s plea for accelerated hearing in October 2018.
The case was subsequently transferred to Yola where the first respondent resides.
Anka’s decision to jettison the case rattled many in the court especially Modi’s supporters who thought the sitting will disrupt Bindow’s hope for a second term.
Reacting to the withdrawal, the counsel to Bindow, Chris Uche, said his client is ready to “follow the case to anywhere it may be taken.”
“As we said in the open court, we are ready for the hearing in the case to continue, but the judge recused himself from the case and it is being sent back to Abuja. Wherever they take us, we will go,” he added.
He said the case lacked merit and “had no chance of going far.”
GICN counsel, Edward Omaga, appeared unperturbed.