EBONYI, Nigeria – The State High Court sitting in Abakaliki, the State capital, on Monday stayed ruling on the dissolution of Onyekachi Nwaebonyi-led factional exco, which was sacked by the National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Recall that Nwaebonyi had dragged the PDP NWC to court, challenging the dissolution.
The NWC had inaugurated a nine-member caretaker committee headed by Elder Fred Udeogu.
However, the ruling which was supposed to be delivered yesterday (Monday) was abruptly adjourned by the presiding Judge, Justice Vincent Nwanchor, apparently to douse the tension created by the parties involved in the matter.
Counsel to the PDP, Barr Mudi Erhenede told the court to stay further action on the matter since the defendants were challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to entertain the case in the Appellate Court.
Erhenede, who is also the Legal Adviser to the Ebonyi State PDP Caretaker Committee, contended that for the interest of justice and fairness, it was proper for the lower court to stay action on the matter pending the determination of the appeal.
But Counsel to the plaintiffs, Arthur Obi SAN said it was a settled law that a ruling of the court could not be arrested for whatsoever reason, except on the ground of abuse of court processes, adding that the ground canvassed by the defendants to arrest the proposed ruling was not tenable in law.
Meanwhile, the PDP legal Adviser, Mr Erhenede has accused Barrister Roy Umahi of threatening his life during the court session.
Erhenede alleged that Barr Umahi accused him of being a cultist and even threatened him inside the court.
According to him: “His brother has created an empire and that’s why his siblings can trample on the law because they believe that nothing will happen. I’m not scared because if a lawyer cannot die in the court premises, then where else. This is the right place to do the thing. I’m waiting for him to come and carry out his threats.
“You can see how they brought all manner of thugs to the court and so we are not boarded. We are more interested in seeing that justice is done. You can see from your observation that we are doing our best to resist imperialism.
“The simple case, we call it PDP versus PDP, assuming there were no external forces. The governor’s brother is threatening all manner of things. We will stand up for the law. You cannot kill PDP by legislation. They cannot kill PDP by these things they are doing.
“I don’t feel very free in a court where a lawyer will threaten violence and the court did not even protect me.”
But Barrister Umahi, who is an elder brother to Ebonyi State Governor, denied threatening the life of Erhenede.
He frowned on what he termed act of thuggery and rascality allegedly displayed by Erhenede in the court, noting that judges should stop tolerating such characters in the court.
“The point I want to make is that whatever is your calling, it is necessary that the person should exhibit discipline. More so, when you are a lawyer. But a character like Erhenede is a despicable one.
“They have been using one lawyer Njemanze (SAN), to represent all the parties. When that is the case, the council for the purposes of filibustering the proceedings or for the purposes of causing confusion entered the court and said, I’m appearing for myself today. It is not done.
“How do you comment on a matter in contention when you filled no proceedings. So, he was in court to cause confusion. And it is very unfortunate of him. The way he was behaving in the court, only cultists can behave that way.
“The legal profession is not for thugs. It is not for people who act like cultists. It is for gentlemen. We are guided by rules and procedures. You know judges, they have a lot to chew. If the judges do not have a lot, there is no way he can be tolerated,” he stated.
The presiding Judge, Justice Nwanchor has adjourned the ruling on the matter to Wednesday 20th of January 2021.
In a swift reaction, Fred Udoegu expressed confidence and commended them for staying ruling on the matter, hence it has been appealed to a higher court.
On his Part, Onyekachi Nwaebonyi said he expected ruling on the matter but it was unfortunate that it was stayed.