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NigeriaDecides2023

Ohanaeze Ndigbo: Court refuses request to stop election

The Federal High Court, Abuja on Monday refused to accede to the request to halt the planned election of officers of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, an apex social-cultural group of the South East.

In an application seeking to halt the forthcoming election of the John Nwodo-led body, the plaintiff in an exparte application, dated December 7, 2020 and filed on its behalf by Amobi Nzelu, prayed the court for an Interim Injunction restraining the 1st and 2nd respondents “from conducting any election into the various offices of the bidyy fixed for December 2020/January 2021, pending the determination of the motion on notice filed in respect of this matter”.

However, Justice Inyang Ekwo, rather than hearing the ex parte motion, ordered the plaintiff, Incorporated Trustees of Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly, to put the defendants on notice and adjourned the matter till January 15, 2021.

Respondents in the suit are Ohanaeze Ndigbo (Nwodo’s faction), John Nwodo, Corporate Affairs Commission, Attorney General of the Federation and Inspector General of Police – 1st to 5th respondents, respectively.

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The plaintiff in the exparte application prayed the court for an order restraining Nwodo from doing anything in furtherance of the said election into the various offices of the 1st respondent fixed for December 2020/ January 2021, pending the determination of the motion on notice and another order restraining the AGF and Police from allowing the faction led by Chief Nwodo from conducting the said election.

In a 29 paragraph affidavit in support of the motion exparte, the plaintiff claimed that the 1st respondent “is an illegal association having not been registered by the CAC under the Companies and Allied Matters Act”.

In the affidavit deposed to by Onuorah Onyeachonam, President General of the Incorporated Trustees of Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly, the plaintiff argued that the 1st respondent not been a registered association should not be allowed to operate.

Nzelu argued that if not stopped, the election into the various offices of the 1st defendant will be a stamp and seal on illegality.

While stressing that the plaintiff is ready to enter into an undertaking to indemnify the respondents in damages should the others sought, if made, be found to have been made without justification, Nzelu said that the loss the plaintiff will suffer will not be assuaged by any damages awarded.

After listening to the argument of the plaintiff, Justice Ekwo held that the reliefs sought cannot be granted without first hearing from the respondents.

He, therefore, ordered that the respondents be put on notice.

While adjourning the suit to January 15, 2021, he said the plaintiff can apply to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for the matter to be taken during vacation if he so desires.

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