Court reinstates Ilonze as National President, Peoples’ Club of Nigeria International

July 23, 2023
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Peoples’ Club of Nigeria International

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…restrains Arinze-led opposition exco from further interference

By Chuks Eke

An Ogidi High Court No. I in Idemili Judicial Division of Anambra state, presided over by the Administrative Judge of the Division, Justice Pete Obiorah has reinstated  Chief Joseph Ilonze as National President of Peoples’ Club of Nigeria International, PCNI, barely five years after his tenure was purportedly truncated by some members of the club.

The court also awarded N350,000 cost in favour of the four plaintiffs, the Incorporated Trustees of PCNI, Chief Ilonze, Chief Inyama Anthony and Chief John Chuks Onwuazor, against the defendants, Chief Lawrence Arinze, Chief R.O.C. Ekedozie, Chief Darlington Adibe, Elder Smart Ebere and Barr. Fidelis Onyebueke as cost of this action.

 

The court Judgement followed a writ of summons brought before it by the plaintiffs asking the court to declare that the action of the first defendant, Lawrence Arinze in appointing the second defendant, R.O.C. Ekedozie to replace Ilonze who was duly elected as the national president of the first plaintiff, PCNI, is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional,

In the Suit No. HID/274/2018, the plaintiffs, through the Legal Adviser to the Onitsha branch of People Club of Nigeria International, PCNI, Onitsha branch, Jideofor Okongwu Esq., the plaintiffs also asked the court to declare that the action of the defendants in forcefully taking over possession of Rooms 607, 608, 701, 805, 602 and 706 at the Club Guest House Block B of the PCNI, without the permission and consent of the plaintiffs is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.

 

Declaring the second plaintiff, Ilonze as the national president of the first plaintiff, PCNI, Justice Obiorah in his judgement on Tuesday, noted that the three-year tenure of Ilonze as the duly elected national president of PCNI which was purportedly truncated midway by the defendant, about five years ago, has not yet elapsed.

 

Justice Obiorah further declared that the action of the first defendant, Chef Arinze in appointing the second defendant, Ekedozie to replace Ilonze who was duly elected as the national president of the first plaintiff, PCNI, is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional, adding that the action of the defendants in forcefully taking over possession of Rooms 607, 608, 701, 805, 602 and 706 at the Club Guest House Block B of the PCNI, without the permission and consent of the plaintiffs is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.

 

The court therefore granted an order of injunction restraining the defendants, their servants, agents and privies from further interfering with the rights, duties and functions of Ilonze as the duly elected national president of the first plaintiff, PCNI, henceforth.

 

The court said it is aware of the tenure of office of the elected officers of PCNI and the fact that this legal tussle has lasted in court for five years thereby meaning that but for this suit, the terms of office of Ilonze, second plaintiff would have ordinarily elapsed but the tenure cannot be counting while this suit is in court and in the light of the illegal appointment of the second defendant, Ekedozie to assume the role and functions of the national president of PCNI.

 

“Accordingly, I make a consequential order that any purported election or appointment of national officers of PCNI conducted during the pendency of this case is hereby set aside, nullified and rendered ineffective and illegal. The second plaintiff shall complete his tenure which was truncated by the action of the defendants and call for election as required by the constitution of the first plaintiff”.

 

Speaking to newsmen shortly after the judgement, Ilonze, described the court declaration as a land mark judgement, adding that what is left now is to begin the process of repairing all the enormous damages caused by the illegal activities of the opposition group which he said could lead to their expulsion from the club for anti club activities.

Flanked by other executive members of the club, including Chief Anthony Inyama, National Secretary; Barrister Jideofor Okongwu, Head of Legal Team; Chief Pius Igwilo, National Financial Secretary; Mr. Emmanuel Eze, Chairman, PCNI, Onitsha Branch; Elder Godwin Adiele, Chief Welfare Officer; Dr. Daniel Onyeagba, 3rd National Vice president from Atlanta, Georgia, USA branch of PCNI and Chief Hezekiah Njakor, National Officer/Chairman Emeritus, Kano Branch of PCNI, Ilonze expressed disgust that the defendants had caused a lot of damages to the club throughout their years of illegal usurpation of power.

 

Also speaking, counsel to the victorious plaintiffs,  Okongwu who is the Head of the legal team that handled all the cases of the PCNI, lauded the court for seeing the truth in the plaintiffs’ writ of summons.

Okongwu who is also the chairman emeritus of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Anaocha branch, former chairman of chairmen of the eight branches of NBA Anambra state, as well as the  immediate past member of the National Executive Committee, NEC of the NBA, expressed optimism that with the court verdict, PCNI would come back to life.

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