By Francis Igata, Enugu
An Enugu State High Court, yesterday, failed to vacate an injunction restraining the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, from using the list of delegates elected during the November 1, 2014 ward congresses of the Enugu State PDP for the conduct of the primary election.
The court also failed to rule on preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the suit.
The position of the trial judge, who is also the Chief Justice of Enugu State, Justice Innocent Umezulike, came against the reported peace talks between the two feuding camps loyal to Governor Sullivan Chime and the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, wherein both camps agreed to work together and that the pending court cases in Enugu instituted by the Chime camp be withdrawn.
However, in what appears to be a twist, the Enugu State High Court, declined to vacate its earlier order and rather adjourned further proceedings in the suit to December 12, 2014 when both parties are expected to return to court to brief it on the outcome of the out-of-court settlement move. The judge had adjourned the matter till yesterday, for ruling on the preliminary objection raised by counsel to the PDP, Mr Alex Izinyon, SAN, challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the motion, which subject matter was the same as that decided by the Federal High Court, Abuja last Monday.
When the case came up for ruling, yesterday, counsel to the plaintiff, Mrs. Justina Offiah, SAN, told the court that she had the instruction of his client, Mr. Charles Okafor (plaintiff) to inform the court that the parties were already holding discussions with a view to settling the matter out of court.
She urged the court to suspend its ruling on the preliminary objection to enable the parties conclude the ongoing peace process.
But the counsel to PDP, Mr. Obinna Nnaka, who stood in for Dr. Izinyon, opposed Offia’s application, saying he had no instruction from his client or his principal to consent to the application to arrest the ruling on preliminary objection, arguing that the ruling should be delivered as it would go a long way to determine whether the matter should continue or not.
Justice Umezulike therefore, asked the lawyer to contact his principal and client on phone to inform them of the new development, which he did by stepping out of the court room to contact them.
Nnaka returned to the courtroom after about three minutes and said that he had instructions to request that if the scheduled ruling should be suspended, the interlocutory order earlier made by the court should be vacated, while the peace process should go on or the entire matter should be withdrawn from court.