A Port Harcourt High Court presided over by Hon. Justice A. U. Kingsley-Chuku on Wednesday, declined to grant an interlocutory injunction sought by associates of former Senator Magnus Abe, against the upcoming membership registration and revalidation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State.
Justice Kingsley-Chuku, who rejected pleas by lawyers representing Senator Abe and his associates to persuade the Court to entertain their motion or grant the order, directed that the matter before him be returned to the Chief Judge of the State for reassignment.
Themeteornewshub has it on good authority that Justice Kingsley-Chuku was among Judges from the Rivers State High Court petitioned before the National Judicial Council (NJC), in 2020 but which at its 93rd Meeting of 16 December, 2020, held virtually, dismissed the petitions.
The NJC had in the Reports of its two Preliminary Complaints Assessment Committees agreed with the recommendations to dismiss eighteen (18) petitions against 14 Judicial Officers that included Hon. Justice A. I. Iyayi-Lamikanra, Chief Judge, Rivers State, Hon. Justice A. U. Kingsley-Chuku, and Hon. Justice Joy N. Akpughunum.
Justice Kingsley-Chuku in dismissing the request for the interlocutory injunction, said that as a vacation Judge, he was aware that the vacation period was about to come to an end, and insisted that there was nothing he could do to entertain the matter.
Henry Bello,Counsel to the litigants, however, prayed him to issue a restraining order.
The Court, however, insisted that the plaintiffs should properly serve the defendants who had not been served with the summons on notice.
The Court also granted permission for lawyers representing the plaintiffs to serve Governor Mai Mala Buni and Barrister Isaac Ogbobula who are Chairmen of the Caretaker Committees of the Party at the national and State levels, respectively, through substituted service.
The suit was filed by Hon Emmanuel Deeyah, Hon. Golden Ben Chioma, Queen Enyi, Ogundu Mini and Nkesi Chindah. While Deeyah, a former House of Representatives Member, is the President of KAGOTE, an elite socio-cultural organization for the Ogoni Ethnic Nationality, Hon. Ben Chioma served as a member of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
Among other things, they are seeking to invalidate the right of the National Secretariat of the APC to conduct a new registration of Party members in Rivers State.
In a New Year message jointly signed by the Party’s Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) Chairman, Governor Mai Mala Buni, and the Secretary, Senator James John Akpanudoedehe, APC said the Party’s membership registration and revalidation exercise will commence in two weeks time.
The message read in part: “Our Party’s membership registration and revalidation will be followed by activities for the Party’s leadership reconstitution at all levels, from Ward, Local Government, States to National. Ahead of all that, the Caretaker Committee will release a detailed timetable for all activities very soon.”
“And ahead of the Congresses and National Convention, competent Party leaders will be invited to serve in Committees to ensure that the mandate of NEC is achieved before June 30, 2021.”
It was in their bid to stop the exercise from holding in Rivers State that the litigants approached the Port Harcourt High Court.
Brought pursuant to Order 39 Rule 1 (1) – (3) of the High Court of Rivers State (Civil Procedure) Rules 2010, the litigants asked for an order of interlocutory injunction “restraining the 1st Defendant’s National Executives, Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) and the Defendants acting by themselves or through their proxies or agents howsoever described, from scheduling, sanctioning or conducting any membership exercise of the 1st Defendant in Rivers State in the absence of validly elected Ward Executives of the Party in Rivers State pending the final determination of this suit.”
The litigants also asked the Court to issue an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the 3rd Defendant from “purporting to act as the Caretaker Committee Chairman of the 1st Defendant in Rivers State pending the final determination of this suit.”