Law News
Enugu Ward Congresses: Court restrains PDP from acting on submitted names


Enugu State High Court, yesterday granted an interlocutory injunction, restraining the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, from acting on any list or names purportedly submitted to it from the result of controversial ward congress held in the state on November 1, 2014.

State Chief Judge, CJ, Justice Innocent Umezulike,   in granting the injunction, noted that the defendants/respondents   in the suit, PDP, did not reply to the service by the plaintiff, with the proof of service in the court and also failed to appear in court either through their counsel or in person.

Mr. Charles Okafor, a PDP chieftain in Neke Oyofor ward, Ezeagu local government area of Enugu State, through his counsel, Sam Orji, had dragged PDP before the court, on the grounds that no congress held in his area where he was vying for the position of ward delegate.

The CJ said: “After hearing the submissions of Sam Orji Esq. for the Plaintiff/Applicant. No appearance for the defendant and no letter was written to that effect. This Court hereby orders as follows: That an order of interlocutory injunction is hereby granted restraining the Defendant herein,  the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, by its servants, agents, and privies or any person or persons acting for or through the Defendant from acting on any list or names purporting to be the list of delegates elected on 1st November 2014 at any ward or local government congress in Enugu State, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

“That because of the urgency involved, accelerated hearing of the substantive suit is hereby ordered. That the Plaintiff is hereby granted seven days within which to file her Statement of claim and serve same on the defendants. The Defendant is also granted 14 days upon receipt of the said Statement of Claim to file its statement of Defence and serve same on the Plaintiff.”

The plaintiff, according to the CJ, had initially sought for an  interim injunction ex-parte, but the court was of the view that since the injury sought to be averted was to happen on November 15, there was sufficient time to put the defendants on notice.
The matter was adjourned to December 8, 2014, for definite hearing.

Delegates flay CJ’s injunction

This came as delegates elected at the November 1 ward congresses of the party, flayed the ex-parte order granted by the court restraining the PDP from acting on the list or names of delegates elected during the party’s congresses pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit brought by a group a group loyal to Governor Sullivan Chime.
Reacting on behalf of the delegates, a member of the three-man ward delegates that emerged from Umuabi Ward in Udi Local Government Area of the State, Emeka Aneke, described the ex-parte injunction as a “gross abuse of court processes and a typical market place injunction”

Hon. Aneke, who said the delegates were not surprised at such “market place injunction”, observed that the State Chief Judge abused court processes by granting an injunction upon an earlier court order on the same matter, which is being heard by the Federal High Court in Abuja.

He said: “We the elected Ward Delegates take exceptions to this gross abuse of court processes by the Enugu State Chief Judge. It is a public knowledge that the matter is a subject of litigation at Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, which had granted an injunction restraining the PDP and its principal agents from receiving any other result of the November 1, Ward Delegates election of the party other than the names submitted by the acting Chairman of the  party, Elder David Aja and the Electoral Committee of the party.

“This, however, did not come to us as a surprise, especially given an earlier online reports accusing the Chief judge and the Enugu State Governor, Sullivan Chime of plotting to use a kangaroo injunction to truncate the peace deal brokered by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

“It could be recalled that APC governors had boasted that they had some members of the PDP Governors’ Forum working for them to frustrate the party in the forthcoming general election before decamping, and this second injunction coming on the heels of an earlier injunction and various subterranean moves seeking to undermine the Acting Chairman of the PDP in the State, Elder David Aja, from carrying out his legitimate duties leaves no one in doubt that Governor Sullivan Chime is indeed an enemy within.

“We are now truly convinced that although the Governor claims to have accepted not to join the race for the Enugu West Senatorial District, he is hell-bent on working with opposition forces to ensure that the PDP does not present candidates for the 2015 general elections, even as we have it on good authority that the Governor and his men are making plans to field candidates on another party platform in the State”.

Hon. Aneke who alleged that the decision not to properly serve the PDP before ruling on ex-parte motion, was a deliberate attempt by the piper to rig the judicial processes in favour of its paymaster as was the case in the Enugu ‘chicken impeachment’ and a similar controversial order restraining the National Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Victor Umeh from parading himself as leader of the party.

“They deliberately served the Enugu PDP instead of the national headquarters to ensure that the PDP did not make an appearance at the court and we are already sending a petition to the National Judicial Council to investigate the processes leading up to this kabu-kabu injunction and the habitual abuse of ex-parte injunction by one man”, he added.

Hon. Aneke asked the PDP faithful and aspirants in Enugu “not to lose sleep over this contrived order as the three-man delegates elected in all the 260 wards of the State will on November 29th elect PDP’s candidates for the House of Assembly election and proceed to elect candidates for the National Assembly and governorship elections in the State”.

“If there was no Ward Congress, on what basis did Governor Chime and his group participate in the last Saturday’s Local Government Government Congress where some of their loyalists were elected as national Delegates by three-man delegates elected on November 1 and on what basis did the Appeal Panel seat on the outcome of the Ward Congress?” Aneke further queried.

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