Court Adjourns Suit Seeking To Restore Rep Onuigbo As Abia Central Senatorial Candidate Of APC
The suit filed by the member representing Ikwuano/Umuahia Federal Constituency, Rep. Sam Onuigbo seeking to restore him as the candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC for Abia Central senatorial district ahead of the 2023 general elections has been adjourned.
A Federal High court siting in Umuahia, Abia State presided over by Justice Evelyn Anyadike, today Thursday, adjourned the suit till September 30th.
Rep. Onuigbo had insisted on his recognition as the duly elected Senatorial Candidate of APC for Abia Central, saying the APC erred by submitting the name and details of Emeka Atuma whom he said did not contest the primary election.
Similarly, joined in the suit as respondents are Emeka Atuma whose names and details have been submitted as the candidate of All Progressives Congress to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The suit slated for commencement of hearing on Thursday could not proceed following a preliminary objection filed by the counsel to the first defendant less than 24 hours to commencement of hearing.
In the preliminary objection, counsel to the defendant made reference to a primary election conducted on the 7th of July, which the plaintiff said does not exist.
Counsel to plaintiff, Barr. Emaka Obegolu (SAN), however, urged the Court to strike out the preliminary objection.
Counsel to APC, V.C Nwankwo who stood in for for his colleague, Prof. Sam. Erugo told the Court that the party did not receive the originating summon.
The Counsel to INEC and Emeka Atuma agreed that they had been served notice of originating summon.
Addressing journalists in the aftermath of the Court sitting, the Counsel to the Plaintiff, Barr. Emaka Obegolu (SAN) said “All the parties came today, prepared to hear the originating summons with all the candid application but the counsel for APC Prof. Erugo sent a colleague of his to come and represent APC. They filed their preliminary objection this morning and served the order this morning (Thursday).
“The list of preliminary objection contains allegations of facts which we need to consult with my client and respond to, although we find it very provocative because those issues raised have nothing to do with the matter we came for today.
“The matter we came for today is based on the primary election conducted on the 28 of June but in their notice they are referring to a primary election conducted on the 7 of July which is not existing. We will respond accordingly and when we come back on the 30th of September by the grace of God, the court will hear our applications”.
Barr. Vigilius Nwankwo who stood in for Prof. Sam Erugo, while speaking to newsmen, pointed out that Thursday was not originally fixed for the hearing of the suit but was rather fixed for the 5th of October.
Hear him: “today was not originally fixed for the hearing of the substantive suit from the record of the court as confirmed by the judge.
“The matter was slated for hearing on the 5th of October then suddenly a letter was written apparently from the plaintiff asking the court to fix it to an earlier date as against that of 5th, so the court graciously granted it to today so that all the parties should be able to come to court so by the time all the parties are represented and all the processes are before the court, the court can now take either that 5th or a later date which will be for the hearing of the main case.
“However, we filed our preliminary objection yesterday, the preliminary of the first defendant which was not filed along- side the original processes suit filed and in the preliminary objection we are asking the court to strike out the suit or dismiss it, that it is incompetent.
“So that motion was served on the Senior learned Advocate of Nigeria, Obegolu who appeared for the plaintiff and he will need time to respond and after his response we also have the right to reply on points of call so the court graciously and benevolently adjourned to 30 of September for hearing of everything so the effect is that both the hearing of the preliminary objection and the main suit will be taken together and that’s what is the practice direction and even the Federal High court rules contemplated so the proceedings went well.”
Meanwhile, Famousreporters.com reports that Atuma was a contender for the APC Governorship ticket but was defeated by his his counterpart, High Chief Ikechi Emenike at the primary election.