Chief Victor Umeh
An Enugu State High Court presided over by the state Chief Judge, Justice Innocent Umezulike, Monday, refused to vacate the ex-parte order it made on July 25, 2012 restraining the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh, from convening the national, state or local government executive committee meeting of the party.
The Chief Judge, who had fixed ruling on the preliminary objection raised 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.
Delivering a ruling that lasted for about one and half hours, Justice Umezulike said since the defendant had approached the Court of Appeal to challenge the interim order given by his court, it would be wrong for him to do anything further on the order, “so I have decided to wait for the outcome of the appeal.”
He said even though the interim injunction ought not to have lasted beyond July 31, 2012 when both parties appeared before the court and made vital submissions in support of their case, the notice of appeal served his court made it necessary for him to step down further action on the order until the appellate court decided the appeal.
“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 in this matter. I have therefore decided to remand my ruling on the interim order,” he said.
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 centred on his “wrongful expulsion from APGA for alleged anti-party activities.”
He, therefore, adjourned the matter to September 24, 2012 for the parties to argue the originating summon.
The interim order granted by the state Chief Judge had aborted the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party, which was slated for Abuja on August 1 but the meeting was later rescheduled owing to the subsisting ex-parte order of the court.