The Ebonyi State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP has filed a petition to the State’s Chief Judge, Justice Anselem Nwaigwe and against the Head of Appeal Department in Ebonyi State High Court, Mr. Ezinwa Ogudu for allegedly frustrating the processing of documents it requires to appeal a ruling on preliminary objection raised by its counsel since the Court’s last sitting on the 21st of December, 2020.
It would be recalled that the Party has known no peace in Ebonyi State since the defection of Governor Umahi to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC and the consequent dissolution by the PDP national leadership of the State and zonal Executives and the constitution of a Care-Taker Committee led by Elder Fred Udogu to take-over the Party.
The quondam Nwebonyi-led Exco obviously sponsored by the governor of Ebonyi State have continued to lay claims to the State’s leadership of the PDP despite being lawfully dissolved by the national leadership of the Party.
The petition, personally signed by Elder. Udeogu is titled; “Complaint of unlawful connivance and underhand activities to frustrate our appeal in Suit No: HAB/161/2020 between Chief Barr. Onyekachi Nwebonyi & 2ORS V. Peoples Democratic Party & 11 ORS by Mr. Ezinwa Ogudu- the Head, Appeal Department of High Court”.
It read that following ruling on preliminary issues bothering on jurisdiction raised by our counsel, Chief K.C.O Njemanze, SAN on the 21st day of December, 2020 , legal representatives of the Udeogu-led Exco immediately filed a notice of Appeal and motion for stay of proceeding same day.
“Arrangements were made to process and transmit records to the Court of Appeal, Enugu State. Thus, the Head, Appeal Department of Ebonyi High Court, Mr. Ezinwa Ogudu issued form 3 to the proposed respondents to appear for settlement of records on the 24th day of December, 2020”, the petition stated.
The petitioners however expressed shock that on the said 24th of December, 2020, the respondents were absent in court and the HOD, Appeal asked that the appellant make payment for processing and transmitting the records.
It said, “upon the request of the HOD, we made deposit through one of our counsels, Mazi M. Igbo, Esq. Following the further request of the HOD, we transferred the balance of the money for processing and transmitting record of Appeal through our Secretary, Barr. Luke Nkwegu to the HOD on the 27th day of December, 2020, with the assurance that the record would be transmitted on the 29th of December, 2020.”
The petitioners informed that they were however surprised when information began to filter on the 28th of December, 2020 to the effect that the elder brother to the Governor and one of the counsels to the proposed respondents in the appeal, Mr. Roy Umahi had boasted that they would frustrate the appellant’s appeal and that nobody would process or transmit the said records until they secure an interlocutory injunction against the appellants.
“My lord, the events that followed after the rumour have gone to confirm the authenticity of the rumour. Thus, ever since Mr. Ezinwa received the balance of the money for processing and transmitting the records he has simply and dramatically turned to constitute a cog in the wheel of the process of transmitting the records. He has now abandoned the already processed records and switched off all his mobile lines”, the petition alleged.
It also called the attention of the State’s Chief Judge to the effect that the records of appeal in the matter is over-ripped to be transmitted to Court of Appeal having fulfilled all the requirements especially considering the nature of the case in question.
According to the petition, “It is uncalled for and highly uncautionable for staff of the judiciary to surrender himself as an instrument to be used to derail the cause of justice and deny us our right to explore remedies provided in the law within the time we need it. My lord, you may wish to know that our oppressors claim you are aware and in support of whatever they are doing”, the petitioners alleged, imploring the Chief Judge to use his good office to call the accused HOD, Appeal- Mr. Ezinwa Ogudu to order and consequently prevail on him to immediately transmit the said records.
It warned that failure to comply, the Party shall be compelled to formally report the matter to the appropriate quarters.
Contacted via his Glo line, the accused Mr. Ogudu couldn’t take his calls as at the time of filing this report. Also contacted, Mr. Roy Umahi said in a telephone interview that very soon they will meet in court as he claimed he was totally unaware of appeal until 2:40p.m today.
“I have told Udeogu (the Chairman) that very soon we will meet in court. First, they accused the Chief Judge, (Justice Nwaigwe), then they accused Justice Ngene and now, it is myself. That is not how to do litigations. In fact, they are mere societal nuisance!”, Mr. Umahi replied.
Meanwhile, a highly placed source in Ebonyi PDP said in a telephone conversation that the Party would immediately proceed with the petition to the National Judicial Council, NJC hence those in the temple of justice in Ebonyi have refused to tow the right path allowed by the law.
“They cannot deliberately frustrate the legal process with their gimmicks. We shall soon drag them to the NJC and all those involved in this mess would be dealt with according to the dictates of the law”, said the PDP Chieftain who is also a practising legal practictioner.