The last hope of the self assumed Chairman of APC in Rivers state Ojukaye Flag Amachree was on Wednesday 31st of October 2018 dashed as Appeal Court sitting in Port Harcourt struck out motions filed by his Counsel requesting to be joined in the case between 23 LGA Delegates led by one Ibrahim Umar and 22 others against All Progressives Congress. The Appeal Court CASES Suit No. CA/PH/198/2018 and TCA/PH/198/2018 regarding the motions and Objection to the Joiner were all thrown out as the judgment of the Supreme Court had overtaken such legal actions.
It would be recalled that the Ojukaye Flag-Amachree’s led APC in the state filed an appeal to set aside the Justice Chiwendu Nwogu’s ruling of the State High Court which nullified the APC state congresses and the nomination of Arc. Tonye Dele Cole as the party’s governorship flag bearer in the forthcoming general elections.
As the matter was mentioned in court Wednesday morning, Prince Onyekwere Ozunda, who represented the APC state Chairman, Ojukaye Flag-Amachree, presented motion for withdrawal as party seeking to be joined in the matter and the request was granted for the relieve of Ojukaye from matter and the motion was struck out. With this action taken and at this point the three man appeal panel led by Justice Caroline Jumbo-Ofor, had a brief break to reconvene in few minutes. When they reconvened about an hour later, the lead Counsel to the respondent (Ibrahim Umar and 22 aggrieved APC members) in the appeal, Henry Bello Esq, seek for the withdrawal of his pending motions filed on September 13, 2018 to regularize the Respondent’s appeal of argument, and withdrawal of motion for Stay of proceedings filed on same date and withdrawal of further affidavits filed on October 2nd of 2018.
Reacting on the request by the Respondents’ Counsel, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Dr J. Olajoke, who was the recognized Counsel for APC, objected to the withdrawal of stay of proceedings dated on September 13, 2018 as he opposed the motion of withdrawal of notice for enlargement of time dated and filed same date by the respondent. In the issuing legal argument Dr Olajoke told the court that the withdrawal of a motion by the respondent was a trick to immediately file in a substitute motion as he stated that the applications for withdrawal by the respondent constitute an abuse for judicial process and will cause further delay of the matter, he therefore, urged the court not to allow the motion to be withdrawn but stay for proceedings to continue.
Ruling on the withdrawal of the motions, the lead panel, Justice Caroline Jumbo-Ofor overruled the objection by the applicant/Respondent’s Counsel, thereby struck out all the motions as requested by the respondents counsel. Justice Jumbo-Ofor further adjourned the matter till November 14, for adoption of addresses. She directed the parties to respond to their addresses within five days from the day of the sitting.
CONCLUDING, the Appellate Court awarded cost of N30, 000 against the Ojukaye while N20, 000 was awarded against the Respondents’ in the appeal.
Immediately the court drama came to end journalists approached the, lead Counsel for the Respondents, Henry Bello Esq. as he said that he filed a motion at the Appellate COURT to strike out the appeal, adding that the matter has become academic. Continuing he said : “I am appearing for 23 members of APC who were wrongly denied participation in the ward congress of the party. We want the court to strike out the appeal because it has become academic. It has become a wanton waste of precious judicial time. Now they have appeal against main decision of High Court which was decided on October 10, this year. They are asking for the same thing they are asking for here. They filed another appeal on October 11; they filed another on October 23, all of them asking for the same thing. There must be an end to litigation. This one is a wanton waste of precious judicial time that is why we want the court to strike it out.” He added that “the court has asked us to come on November 14, so that we take arguments on our application for the striking out of the appeal that has become stillborn.”
While Prince Onyekwere Ozunda, representing Ojukaye Flag-Amachree for joiner in the appeal said: “Today in the appeal of Ojukaye Flag-Amachree, I sort the leave of the Court to withdrawal of that application. The miscellaneous application of 246 because I foresaw something ahead which will serve as a clause to the speedy trial of 198 which we all saw today. If I didn’t withdraw that application it would staled the 198 today. So I have to withdraw that of 246 to give a lead way for 198 to proceed. Today, applications were struck out. The one I seek the leave was struck out, their own preliminary objection was also struck out and they asked for cost of N500, 000 but the court in its wisdom said no and awarded N30, 000 costs against us. Is vice versa, they made theirs and court awarded N20, 000 against them for me.”
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