Abia 2023: Court Awards N0.5m to Emenike, Blasts Frivolous Litigants

The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Abia State (APC), High Chief Ikechi Emenike, has continued to scale the legal hurdles placed on his path by opponents as the Federal High Court in Umuahia has again dismissed a suit challenging his membership of his party.

 Delivering judgment in suit no: FHC/UM/CS/101/2022, the presiding Judge, Justice Evelyn Anyadike, further affirmed Emenike as bona fide member of the APC, and awarded him N500,000 in damages.

The dismissal of this particular suit brings to 21 the number of cases Emenike has won out of the 24 filed by his opponents in the governorship primary, their surrogates and “meddlesome interlopers.”

The plaintiffs, Chief Oti Brutus Agbai and three others had gone to court challenging Emenike’s party membership on the grounds of a purported suspension, which had already been settled in Emenike’s favour by a court of competent jurisdiction.

 Justice Anyadike, therefore, lambasted the plaintiffs over abuse of court processes with frivolous suits.

The presiding judge also vehemently decried ‘the activities of faceless groups and their penchant for inundating the courts with frivolous pre-election cases, ostensibly to distract validly nominated candidates, like Chief Emenike’.

She also noted that plaintiffs would rush to court and file such frivolous cases without a modicum of evidence to prosecute their cases.

The Judge accordingly awarded the N500, 000 cost against the plaintiffs to serve as deterrent to frivolous litigants. The court ordered that the cost must be paid by the plaintiffs jointly and severally to APC and Emenike.

The plaintiffs had anchored their claims on the May 26, 2022, judgment of Justice O.A. Chijioke of an Abia State High Court in Umuahia, which upheld Emenike’s purported suspension even when a court of concurrent jurisdiction had already quashed the purported suspension.

Justice Chijioke, who was apparently misled did not take cognisance of the fact that the matter had already been settled in favour of Emenike in the judgment of an Abia State High Court, Umunneochi Division, delivered on November 4, 2021.

Emenike and two others had filed a suit before Justice Benson Anya of the state High Court in Umunneochi, where the purported suspension was nullified and the plaintiffs affirmed authentic APC members.

 Most of the suits filed against Emenike border on the same issue of his purported suspension, which had been resolved in his favour by the court prior to his victory in the state APC governorship primary of May 26, 2022.