The Industrial Court sitting in Owerri has adjourned suit filed by aspirants of the 2018 Imo NUJ Election asking the court to compel the Caretaker Committee of the Union to conclude the Union’s botched election.
When the matter was called on Tuesday, March 9,the petitioner, Elder Lambert Ojukwu who spoke on behalf of other aspirants tendered affidavit of facts and other relevant documents before the court as exhibits.
He told the court that the aspirants filed an application praying the court to compel the Francis Ebenugwo’s caretaker committee of Imo NUJ to conclude the union’s election which was discontinued midway during the Union’s election held on June 14,2018.
Counsel to the plaintiff, Barr Chinyere Iwunna of the Wisdom Durueke chambers presented the affidavit of facts on behalf of his clients and requested for cross examination of his clients.
When the presiding judge, Justice I.S Galadima called on counsel to the defendants, Barr S.I Emekoma to cross examine, Elder Lambert Ojukwu, Amby Uneze and other aspirants, he declined pleading before the judge to grant him an extension of time due to health grounds.
The judge who was not comfortable with request of the defense counsel granted the prayers of S.I Emekoma and adjourned the matter to 25th, May, 2021. Also, the presiding judge warned that by the next sitting, he will commence hearing and will not entertain any delay tactics from the defense counsel.
Recall, that aspirants who purchased nomination forms seeking to contest elective positions during the 2018 Imo NUJ election were denied their constitutional rights to participate in the election as the caretaker committee led by Mr Francis Ebenugwuo who was mandate by members of the union at a well attended congress to conclude the election after three aspirants emerged unopposed except for positions of the chairman, Treasurer, Financial secretary, Vice chairman and Ex-Officio abandoned his electoral assignment.
It was learnt that three aspirants were jostling for the chairmanship position; Mr Chris Akaraonye who retired from the Imo state Ministry Of Information, Elder Lambert Ojukwu, Editor in chief of the Newspoint newspaper and Sir Amby Uneze of the ThisDay newspaper.
This newspaper gathered that Akaraonye who was among the three aspirants jostling for the chairmanship position declared himself winner since the caretaker committee was unable to conclude election on grounds that his co contestants, Lambert Ojukwu and Sir Amby Uneze who had earlier proceeded to court maybe sanctioned by the Union leadership for seeking redress in court instead of allowing the matter to be resolved internally.
Meanwhile, media stakeholders and journalists in the state has condemned activities of Chris Akaraonye who parades himself as chairman of the union an act they described as dubious and illegal. The state governor, Dist Sen Hope Uzodinma according to an impeccable source have distanced himself from activities of the Akaraonye’s group as he advised them to continue with their law suit pending at the Industry Court sitting in Owerri, Imo state.