By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRI—A Federal High Court sitting in Owerri, has ordered Senator Samuel Nnaemeka Anyanwu to pay N.3 million to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the party’s 2019 gubernatorial candidate, Chief Emeka Ihedioha.
Anyanwu dragged the PDP, Ihedioha and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to court vide FHC/OW/CS/121/2018, to challenge the outcome of the party’s primary that produced Ihedioha as the gubernatorial candidate.
When the matter came up before Justice M.T. Salihu, the plaintiff’s counsel, Prince Ike Udeozor,who held the brief of Chief Paul Erokoro, SAN, said he had two applications before the court.
“My Lord, we have two applications before the court. One is dated October, 17, 2018, but filed on October 18 2018 and another was dated November 2 2018 and filed on November 7, 2018. They are all praying for amendment of the plaintiff’s process.
“My Lord, I apply to withdraw the initial application for amendment dated October 17 and filed on October 18, 2018”, Udeozor said.
Although the PDP counsel, Mr. Ndukwe Nnawuchi, SAN, and Ihedioha’s counsel, Prince C. O. Njemanze, SAN, did not oppose the plaintiff’s application, they however asked for costs.
While Nnawuchi asked for N1 million, Njemanze prayed the court to award his client N2 million “for coming to the court twice for the same motion”.
The plaintiff’s counsel opposed the amount, arguing that “the intendment of an amendment is to ensure that all issues of controversy are placed before the court and as such should not be used punitively against litigants”.
He then prayed the court to exercise it’s discretion in determining the cost to be awarded.
In his ruling, Justice Salihu awarded the sum of N100.000 and N200.000 in favour of the PDP and Chief Ihedioha respectively, to be paid by the plaintiff.
With the issue of cost was settled, Udeozor applied to withdraw the October 17 application to enable the latter application for amendment go in, “since the two motions are virtually seeking the same thing”.
The Judge granted the application and struck out the application for amendment dated October 17, as prayed by the counsel for Senator Anyanwu.
Hearing on the fresh application could not go on because the defendants have seven days within which to reply.