Enugu Division of the Court of Appeal yesterday granted an order for an accelerated hearing of the Appeal filed by Chief Victor Umeh challenging the order of an Enugu High Court restraining him from parading himself as national chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.
The court, presided over by Justice Inyang Okoro, also granted the prayers of the APGA national chairman seeking to compile and transmit the records of the proceedings at the trial court to the appellate court, having alleged that the trial court, presided over by Enugu State Chief Judge, Justice Innocent Umezurike, had refused to compile and transmit the said record of proceedings.
This is coming even as notable leaders of the party who had initially championed the removal of Chief Umeh as the national chairman, including the former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief Onwuka Ukwa, and leader of the defunct Stakeholders’ Forum of APGA, Dr Mike Adams, yesterday in Enugu declared that peace and reconciliation had returned to the party, pledging to prevail on those who initiated all court actions against Umeh to withdraw same before long.
At the resumed hearing of the appeal, counsel to Umeh, Chief Patrick Ikwueto, SAN, had prayed the court to grant accelerated hearing in the appeal, insisting that the restraining order was affecting the operations of the APGA as a political party even when the party was not a party to the suit.
In his response, Chudi Obieze, lead counsel to the respondent, Jude Okuli said he was not opposed to the motion so long as it would ensure quick dispensation of justice in the instant suit.
In his ruling, Justice Okoro, who was supported by two other justices, granted the prayers, while granting liberty to the lower court to conclude its judgment on the matter presently before it having earlier adjourned sine die.
The court gave the appellants two weeks within which to compile and file the record of proceedings of the trial court, which the lower court had declined to produce.
Reacting to the ruling, Umeh said for once the suit had made substantial progress, describing the development as a very good one even as he expressed satisfaction with the “proceedings of the court this morning.” He said the initial delay had created atmosphere of anxiety.
He said: “But now that the court has taken full possession of the matter and ordered accelerated hearing, it is expected that within reasonable time the appeal will be determined.
“ One significant progress also is that the court has given the lower court the liberty to conclude its judgment. Since the lower court had adjourned sine die to deliver judgment, the Court of Appeal feels that it is better to give the lower court the liberty to conclude its business and if we are dissatisfied with the judgment we can come back so that everything will be taken together.”