December 21, 2020

Court declines to stop Ohanaeze Ndigbo’s election

…orders service of processes on Nwodo, others

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Monday, declined to issue an interim injunction to restrain apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, from going ahead with its planned election.

The court, in a ruling that was delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo, refused to grant an ex-parte application that sought to bar the Chief John Nwodo-led Ohanaeze Ndigbo from taking further steps to elect new leaders for the group.

Rather, Justice Ekwo ordered that all the court processes in the application that was filed by the Incorporated Trustees of Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly should be served on all the Respondents in the suit.

Cited as 1st to 5th Respondents in the matter are; Ohanaeze Ndigbo (Nwodo’s faction), Chief Nwodo, Corporate Affairs Commission, Attorney General of the Federation and Inspector General of Police.

The court directed the Plaintiff to put all the Respondents on notice to enable them to file their responses to the suit.

Justice Ekwo stressed that reliefs the Plaintiff sought from the court were not such that could be granted without hearing from the Respondents.

Consequently, the case was adjourned till January 15, 2021, though the held that the Plaintiff was at liberty to apply to the Chief Judge for the matter to be heard during the court’s vacation period.

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Specifically, the Plaintiff had through its lawyer, Mr. Amobi Nzelu, applied for “an order of Interim Injunction restraining the 1st and 2nd Respondents from conducting any election into the various offices of the 1st Respondent fixed for December 2020/January 2021 pending the determination of the motion on notice filed in respect of this matter”.

In the ex-parte application dated December 7, the Plaintiff further urged also the court to issue order restraining Nwodo from doing anything in furtherance of the said election into the various offices of the 1st Respondent fixed for December 2020/ January 2021, pending the determination of the motion on notice.

As well as an order restraining the AGF and Police from allowing the faction led by Chief Nwodo to conduct the said election.

In a 29 paragraphed affidavit deposed to by one Onuorah Onyeachonam who identified himself as the President General of the Incorporated Trustees of Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly, he told the court that the 1st Respondent (Ohanaeze Ndigbo) “is an illegal association having not been registered by the CAC under the Companies and Allied Matters Act”.

He argued that the 1st Respondent, not being a registered association, should not be allowed to operate illegally.

The Plaintiff told the court that if not stopped, the election into the various offices of the 1st Respondent would be a stamp and seal on illegality.

Counsel to the Plaintiff said his client was ready to enter into an undertaking to indemnify the Respondents in damages should the orders sought, if made, be found to have been made without justification.

He said the loss the Plaintiff would suffer if the 1st Respondent proceeds with the election would be irreparable and could not be assuaged by any damages awarded by the court.

Vanguard News Nigeria