Respite came for governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Ikechi Emenike, yesterdfay, as an Abia State High Court sitting in Umuahia, gave him a clean bill to contest the 2023 poll.
The Court presided over by Justice O.A Chijioke granted him 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.
The restraining order made in suit No HU/6/2022 filed by two Abia APC members, Chinedum Nnoke and two others against Chief Emenike and two others, sought to disqualify them from holding any elective office.
Emenike was shocked by the restraining order by the Umuahia High Court since a court of competent and concurrent jurisdiction had already 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 to determine if the restraining judgment would stand or be quashed.
Emenike, Ejike Olekanma and Ikenna Emmanuel Anyalewechi had gone to court to seek 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, then Catetaker 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. In the light of the foregoing, the claimants reliefs are granted as prayed and judgment is entered in favour of the claimants.”
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 him “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 and Abia State with full rights and benefits.”