BY Tony Edike
ENUGU—AN Enugu State High Court, yesterday, declined to vacate the ex-parte order it made on July 25, 2012 restraining National Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Victor Umeh from convening a national, state or local government executive committee meeting of the party.
Trial judge, also the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Innocent Umezulike, who had adjourned to rule on the preliminary objection by Umeh, against the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the case, yesterday, said he would rather wait for the outcome of the appeal challenging the validity of the prolonged interim order made by the court, which the defendant contended should not have lasted more than two weeks.
In a ruling that lasted close to two hours, Justice Umezulike, said that since the defendant had approached the Court of Appeal to challenge the interim order made by him, it would be wrong for him to do anything further on the order “so I had decided to wait for the outcome of the appeal.”
He said that even though the interim injunction ought not to have lasted beyond July 31, 2012 when parties appeared before the court and made submissions in support of their case, the notice of appeal served his court made it imperative for him to step down further action on the order until the appellate court rule on the appeal.
He said: “I am bound to wait for the decision of the Court of Appeal as to whether the interim order was right or wrong. I should not be seen to be locking horns with the Appeal Court on this matter. I had, therefore, decided to remand my ruling on the interim order.”
On the preliminary objection, Justice Umezulike held that it would not be in the interest of justice to determine it without hearing the substantive motion brought by the plaintiff, Mr. Jude Okuli, which centered on his “wrongful expulsion from APGA for alleged anti-party activities.”
He adjourned the matter till September 24, 2012 for parties to argue the originating summon.
It will be recalled that the interim order granted by the court had aborted the National Executive Committee, NEC meeting of APGA slated for Abuja on August 1 and the meeting had not been rescheduled owing to the subsisting ex-parte order of the court.