An Enugu High Court yesterday granted an interlocutory injunction restraining factional chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh, from functioning as national chairman of the party pending the determination of a substantive suit brought before it.
The court presided over by the Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Innocent Umezulike, also restrained Umeh, his agents or proxies, from expelling any member of the party.
Ruling on the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction by one Jude Okuli, who was challenging the legality of Umeh’s position as national chairman, Justice Umezulike noted that the motion was to be heard on July 29, but was stalled by the numerous interlocutory motions brought by the embattled APGA chairman.
In the ruling, the judge pointed out that since the defendant did not file any defence, the motion was unchallenged. “Therefore, the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction succeeds.
The defendant is hereby restrained from taking steps as chairman of APGA and expelling any member pending the determination of the substantive suit,” Umezulike said.
He, however, vacated an earlier order he granted on July 25, restraining Umeh from taking steps to convoke a national, state or local government executive committee of the party or expelling any member of the party pending the determination of the motion on notice.
The judge also struck out two motions for stay of proceedings and his disqualification from the suit and awarded a cost of N20, 000 against the defendant on each of the motions. Umezulike thereafter adjourned judgment sine die on the substantive suit, adding that hearing notices would be issued to all the parties when the judgment is ready.
When contacted, the founder of APGA, Chief Chekwas Okorie said he had been vindicated as he had consistently maintained while his cases with Umeh lasted that there was no court that had confirmed Umeh chairman of APGA.
Okorie who had left APGA to float another party (UPGA) now approved by INEC said that he left APGA with the spirit of the party, leaving behind for his traducers only the carcass.
Also reacting to the judgment, Umeh described what happened in the court as travesty of justice, stressing that the actions of Justice Umezulike had vindicated his earlier held view that he was procured and compromised to deliver judgment against him in the matter. “
A reflection over Justice Umezulike’s conduct in this matter from inception made me to come to the conclusion that he was galloping through the proceedings to satisfy those who have hired him to do this dirty job.
You will recall that on July 25, he made an ex-parte order against me and against APGA that was not a party in the suit. On July 31 against clear provisions of Enugu State High Court rules, he extended the order without any application by parties and adjourned the matter to September 17.
“You will also recall that on the same July 31, we took two arguments on our notice of preliminary objection to the suit and the chief judge stated that if objection succeeds, the matter will end.
He adjourned the matter to September 17 to rule on the preliminary objection. On September 17, he made a volt face and refused to deliver ruling on challenge of jurisdiction, which was fully argued on July 31,” Umeh said.