Tenure elongation: Court dismisses suit by council Chairmen against Imo State government

An Imo State high court sitting in Owerri on Monday dismissed the Suit filed by the former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Council Chairmen against the Imo State Government seeking for elongation of their two-year tenure in office which expired on 8 August 2012.

In a two hours judgement, the presiding judge, Justice Ngozi Opara reviewed the submissions by the parties and dismissed the case on the ground of gross abuse of court processes by the former council chairmen.

He pointed out that the same case is pending at the Federal High court in Abuja with same Jurisdiction which translates to abuse of court processes.

Justice Opara added that the court has jurisdiction to hear the case, but however lacks the powers to elongate the tenure of an elective position.

He thereafter dismissed the case and awarded a cost of N40, 000.00 against the PDP Council Chairmen.

Meanwhile, Counsel to the state government, Niyi Akintola had earlier argued that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the case since the claimants had served out their tenure as contained in the court of Appeal Judgment of May 5th, 2012.

He argued that the court does not have jurisdiction to hear the case as it lacks the powers to elongate tenured position of the former council chairmen against the provisions of the law as amended by Imo State House of Assembly and duly assented by the former Governor of the state.

On the other hand, the counsel to the former chairmen, and Secretary of ALGON in the state, Onuegbu Eyinnaya contended that the court has jurisdiction to hear the case, stating that their tenure was unconstitutionally and illegally truncated by their sack on 6 May 2011 and that since they were out of office for more than a year, their tenure should be elongated to regain the lost period.

He argued that the two-year tenure was signed after they had started their election process on 25 February 2010 and that the law should not be in retrospect.

The counsel further argued that hearing the case does not in any way amount to abuse of court processes because the defendants have not been able to prove to the court that a similar suit is going on elsewhere since no certified court process has been tendered before the court.

Court stops Trusfund Pension from appointing new Managing Director

The National Industrial Court on Tuesday stopped Trustfund Pension from appointing a new managing director pending the determination of a suit filed by a former Managing Director who is challenging his removal from office.

Justice A.O. Shogbola made the order following the argument of lawyer to the plaintiff, Bernard Nkem Ekwe that the pension firm was taking steps to appoint a new MD despite the fact that he is in court to challenge his removal.

Mr Ekwe had filed the suit at the Industrial Court claiming that he was unlawfully removed from office as managing director.

He asked the court to declare that he remained in office as managing director of the pension firm and entitled to be paid all wages, emoluments and other entitlements.

Trustfund has filed a preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case.
But before arguments could be taken on the objection, the court ordered the parties to maintain the status quo that is the plaintiff should not appoint a new MD until Mr Ekwe’s case had been determined.

However, dissatisfied with the court’s ruling, Trustfund filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal in Abuja asking the appellate court to set aside the lower court’s order stopping the firm from appointing a new MD.

In the appeal filed by Festus Keyamo, he said that the order stopping the firm from appointing new MD was given without jurisdiction.

He said that a challenge of the court’s jurisdiction robbed the court of the jurisdiction to hear any other application until the jurisdiction to hear the substantive suit was determined.