Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has ordered Barr. Onyekachi Nwebonyi to stop parading himself as the chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) Ebonyi State.
The restraining order was issued by the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, January 21, 2021, in Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/1609/2020, Between Hon Fred Udeogu & 11 others V Barr Chief Onyekachi Nwebonyi, for himself and as representing members of the dissolved Ebonyi State PDP Executive Committee and 5 others.
The suit reads: “AN ORDER OF INTERLOCUTORY INJUNCTION restraining the 1st,2nd and 3rd Defendants from in whatsoever manner parading, holding or continuing to parade or hold themselves out either individually or collectively as officers of the 11th Plaintiff or members of the State, Local Government Area and or Ward Executive Committees of the 11th Plaintiff in Ebonyi State pending the hearing and determination of this suit.
“AN ORDER OF INTERLOCUTORY INJUNCTION restraining the 4th and 5th Defendants, their Servants, Agents and/or Officers from in whatsoever manner according recognition to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants as officers of the 11th Plaintiff, pending the determination of this suit”.
However, Hon Justice I.E. Ekwo, further adjourned the matter to 4th of February 2021 for the hearing of the substantive suit.
Recall that the National Leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party had a sequel to the defection of Governor David Umahi to the All Progressives Congress dissolved the State Executive Committee of PDP led by Onyekachi Nwebonyi, and appointed a Caretaker Committee led by Chief Fred Udeogu.
Onyekachi filed a suit in Ebonyi State High Court, Abakaliki, challenging the dissolution of the State Executive Committee of the PDP by the National working committee. But on Wednesday Justice Vincent Nwanchor, presiding over Nwebonyi’s suit withdrew from the case.
The judge was the third in a row to withdraw from the case after Justice Elvis Ngene and the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Anslem Nwaigwe, did the same some weeks ago when the matter was handed over to them.
The suit was be decided on the 18th of January 2021 but was deferred till the 20th of January following an application by Counsel to the Defendants, Barr Mudi Erenede, that they had filed an appeal on the jurisdiction of the State High court.
At the resumed sitting on Wednesday, Barr. Erenede tendered another application asking the Presiding Judge, Justice Nwanchor to withdraw from the case on grounds that he was a brother to the Deputy Governor of the state, Dr. Kelechi Igwe who was an interested party in the suit.
He also submitted that the Presiding Judge failed to protect him in the last adjourned date when Counsel to Onyekachi Nwaebonyi, Bar Roy Nwaeze, threatened to slap him and therefore urged him to hands off in the matter.
But In a counter-motion, the Counsel to Nwebonyi urged the court to dismiss the application as the claim of brotherhood with the Deputy Governor would not violate his judgment.
He also argued that there was no factual evidence to support the claim that he threatened to slap Counsel to the defendants.
After listening to the arguments, the Presiding Judge, Justice Nwanchor ruled that he could not deny the fact that he was of the same community as the Deputy Governor of the State, Dr kelechi Igwe and therefore recused himself to protect the integrity of the court.
He however dismissed claims that he did not protect Counsel for the defendants noting that the court’s intervention during the face-off between the two counsels was corroborated by other legal professions present at the court.
Justice Nwanchor said the file would be returned to the Court Registrar for reassignment.