Reprieve has come for the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Chief Ikechi Emenike as an Abia State High Court, Umuahia has lifted the suspension order it earlier placed on him.
In the order now voided, the court had upheld Emenike’s purported suspension from the APC.
But the court headed by Justice O.A. Chijioke yesterday granted Emenike a stay of execution of the restraining order earlier imposed by the same court after his emergence as the APC standard bearer at the primary poll conducted on May 26, 2022.
The restraining order which was made in suit No HU/6/2022 filed by two aggrieved Abia APC members, Chinedum Nnoke and two others against Emenike and two others, sought to disqualify them from holding any elective office.
Emenike was apparently taken aback by the restraining order by the Umuahia High Court since a court of competent and concurrent jurisdiction had delivered judgment on the same matter on November 4, 2021.
The impending legal battle at the Court of Appeal Owerri Division would still go ahead for determination if the restraining judgment will stand or be quashed.
Emenike, Ejike Olekanma and Ikenna Emmanuel Anyalewechi had gone to court asking for the nullification of the purported “suspension” announced at a “kangaroo meeting of the aggrieved” held at Ikwuano in August last year.
Joined as defendants in the suit were APC, the immediate past caretaker chairman, Mai Mala Buni (for himself and member of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee) and Wilson Chimelulam Utaegbulam.
In its judgment delivered on November 4, 2021 in the Suit No: HUM/41/2021, the Court presided over by Justice Benson Anya held that Chief Emenike, who then was the Secretary of APC Contact and Strategy Committee, “is an authentic and bona-fide member of APC”.
The court held that the defendants had admitted that the claimants are authentic members of APC having failed to file a counter affidavit to challenge the deposition contained in the 22 paragraph affidavit and four exhibits filed by the claimants.
“This is because facts admitted need no further proof,” Justice Anya said, adding that he was “convinced that the defendants were duly served the originating summons” filed on October 20, 2021, yet they could not counter the claimants’ depositions “but rather filed a written address in response to the originating summons,” he said.
“In the light of the foregoing, the claimants’ reliefs are granted as prayed and judgment is entered in favour of the claimants,” the Court said.
However, no order was made as to the cost against the defendants.
Among the reliefs sought by Emenike and the other claimants were that the Court should declare that the said letter dated August 24, 2021 purporting to suspend Chief Emenike “is ineffective, abusive and ultra vires” of the powers of those purported to have written the said letter.
That Emenike “is and remains an authentic/bona fide member and leader of the first defendant (APC) in Nkwoegwu Ward, Umuahia North local government area and Abia State with full rights and benefits”.
The claimants also urged the court to declare that Emenike’s membership of APC was never in question since he was duly registered and his name is in the party’s membership register in his Nkwoegwu ward hence it is only the ward members in relevant ward congress/executive that determine a member’s status following due process.
The court was further asked to make a declaration that the purported letter of suspension was a breach of Emenike’s rights as enshrined in the APC Constitution and the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria(As Amended).