Emenike: I’m a Bonafide APC Member, Court Affirmed My Membership
Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia
The 2023 governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abia State, Chief Ikechi Emenike, has described his purported suspension from the party as the worst form of judicial rascality, insisting that the High Court of Abia under Honourable Justice Benson Anya on the 4th of November 2021 in a considered and full judgement of the court nullified his purported suspension from the party.
Emenike, who defeated five other aspirants to clinch the governorship ticket of the APC in Abia State insisted that his membership and loyalty to the party has never been in doubt, saying the only option open to anybody aggrieved by the said judgement is to appeal against it.
“It is the worst form of judicial rascality for another High Court of Abia State to purport to sit on appeal over the judgement of the High Court of Abia State as done by the said other judgement delivered today (Thursday) in clear disregard of the earlier judgement of a competent court of coordinate jurisdiction,” Emenike said.
Emenike’s membership of the APC was affirmed by an Abia State High Court sitting at Umunneochi which ruled in his favour in a suit he and two other claimants filed challenging a purported suspension by desperate party members during the leadership crisis said to have been instigated by former state chairman of the party, Donatus Nwankpa.
Following what was regarded as a mischievous suspension announced at “a kangaroo meeting of the aggrieved” held at Ikwuano in August last year, the trio of Chief Emenike, Mr. Ejike Olekanma and Ikenna Emmanuel Anyalewechi had gone to court asking for the nullification of the said “suspension”.
Joined as defendants in the suit were APC, then Caretaker Chairman, Mai Mala Buni (for himself and member of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee), and Wilson Chimelulam Utaegbulam.
In its judgment delivered on November 4, 2021 in the Suit No: HUM/41/2021, the Court presided over by Justice Benson Anya held that Chief Emenike, who then was the Secretary of APC Contact and Strategy Committee, “is an authentic and bona-fide member of APC.”
The Court held that the defendants had admitted that the claimants are authentic members of APC having failed to file a counter affidavit to challenge the deposition contained in the 22 paragraph affidavit and four exhibits filed by the claimants.
“This is because facts admitted need no further proof,” Justice Anya said, adding that he was “convinced that the defendants were duly served the originating summons” filed on October 20, 2021, yet they could not counter the claimants’ depositions “but rather filed a written address in response to the originating summons.”
“In the light of the foregoing, the claimants’ reliefs are granted as prayed and judgment is entered in favour of the claimants,” the Court said.
However, no order was made as to the cost against the defendants.
Among the reliefs sought by the claimants were that the Court should declare that the said letter dated August 24, 2021 purporting to suspend Chief Emenike “is ineffective, abusive and ultra vires” of the powers of those purported to have written the said letter.
That Chief Emenike “is and remains an authentic/bona fide member and leader of the first defendant(APC) in Nkwoegwu Ward, Umuahia North Local Government and Abia State with full rights and benefits.”
The claimants also urged the Court to declare that Emenike’s membership of APC was never in question since he was duly registered and his name is in the party’s membership register in his Nkwoegwu Ward hence it is only the ward members in relevant ward congress/Executive that determine a member’s status following due process.
The Court was further asked to make a declaration that the purported letter of suspension was a breach of Chief Emenike’s rights as enshrined in the APC Constitution and the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (As Amended).
Emenike, who in 2015/2019 was the director of operations in the campaign organisation of President Muhammadu Buhari, has been at loggerheads with some disgruntled members of Abia APC.