Labour Party Chairman Comrade Luke Ezeanokwasa drags 6 Executive Members to court defamation

IN THE HIGH COURT OF ANAMBRA STATE
IN THE AWKA JUDICIAL DIVISION
HOLDENATAWKA
SUIT NO: A/     /2017

BETWEEN

COMRADE LUKE EZEANOKWASA                PLAINTIFF
AND

1.    UCHEUGWOJI
2.    RICH ONUORAH
3.    ALEX OBI OSITA
4.    BERTRAM ENUKORA                      DEFENDANTS
5.    PRINCE IFEANYI MBAGWU
6.    AMARUBE GREGORY

STATEMENT OF CLAIM
1.    The Plaintiff is the Chairman of Labour Party Anambra State, a party with State Chapters all over Nigeria.
2.    The Defendants are state officers of Labour Party in Anambra State. Their names and offices held by them are as follows: -
a.    Uche Ugwoji                 Deputy State Chairman
b.    Rich Onuorah                 State Secretary
c.    Alex Obi Osita                 State Youth Leader
d.    Berthram Enukora             State Auditor
e.    Prince Ifeanyi Mbagwu         Organizing Secretary
f.    Amarube Gregory             Assistant Youth Leader


3.    On the 4th day of September, 2017, the Defendants falsely and maliciously under a most scandalous and embarrassing heading write, printed and published or of the Plaintiff and of him in relation to his conduct as the state Chairman of Labour Party, Anambra State a communique under the following heading:
“VOTE OF CONFIDENCE AND IMMEDIATE SUSPENSION FROM OFFICE OF COMRADE LUKE EZEANOKWASA, THE FORMER ANAMBRA STATE CHAIRMAN OF LABOUR PARTY BOTHERING ON ANTI-PARTY ACTIVITIES, GROSS INCOMPETENCE AND EMBEZZLEMENT OF PARTY FUNDS”
Following recent developments in our great party, the State Exco met today, Monday 4th September, 2017 at our party State Secretariat, Awka, and after extensive deliberations on a wide range of issues, the State Exco hereby resolved as follows: -
i.    That the State Chairman Comrade Luke Ezeanokwasa be immediately suspended and removed from office in accordance with Labour Party Constitution Article 17, and that he is hereby suspended and removed.
ii.    That his suspension and subsequent removal from office is in line with Article 19 Section 2, subsection B3, of Labour Party Constitution.
A.     Anti-party activities where he has been seen  on  several  occasions publicly campaigning for, and in company of the PPA gubernatorial candidate Chief Godwin Ezemo, contrary to Labour Party Constitution Article 19 Section B Subsection 2.
B.     His highest level of insensitivity and incompetence in handling official matters  with  particular  reference to  what  happened  on  Saturday 02/09/2017,  during  our  party's  Governorship  primaries  where  Mr. Ezeanokwasa in connivance with our National Chairman, Alhaji A. A. Salam  brought the  serving  National  Treasurer  of  our  party.  Mrs. Oluchukwu Ajulufo (an Mbano Woman) from Imo State, to be imposed on us as our Governorship candidate even where there is concrete evidence that this woman neither purchased the nomination forms nor went for screening.
C.    That Mr. Ezeanokwasa wanted to and in fact shortchanged our only Governorship candidate Engr. Dr. Okey Enemuo who went through all the processes to emerge victorious on the date of our primary election on Saturday second September, 2017 in preference to Mrs. Oluchukwu Ajulufo.
D.    That Mr. Ezeanokwasa through unauthorized withdrawals has liquidated the party's Branch  Account domiciled  at Zenith  Bank, Awka - an Account that is now in red due to his reckless spending.
E.     That Mr.  Ezeanokwasa  used  his Personal Assistant Mr. Ugochukwu Nsolibe to obtain huge sums of money from Engr. Dr. Enemuo running into several millions of naira, some is cash, while others were paid through: -     Mr. Ugochukwu Nsolibe's Account
Name: Ugochukwu Nsolibe
Bank: First Bank Plc
Account Number: 2024311236

It is instructive to note that this self-styled PA, Mr. Ugochukwu Nsolibe is currently working with the Federal College of Education Technical, Umunze. These were monies supposedly needed for running the party in the state but which were never disclosed to the members at any material time, but which were rather diverted into this account.
F.       That Mr. Ezeanokwasa organized a press conference in a hotel suite at Trig Point on Saturday 02/09/2017 for our National Chairman, Alhaji A. A, Salam after they aborted our Governorship primaries on our refusal to accept  Mrs.  Oluchukwu  Ajulufo,  where  the  National  Chairman claimed to have concluded the primaries very early that morning, and that he only came to the party Secretariat to address delegates on the outcome of the election. That he was surprised to be received by hooligans on his arrival at the party secretariat - a word considered very offensive by party faithful in the state who are presently calling for the National Chairman's withdrawal of the offensive word as well as his tendering of unreserved apologies to the Anambra State delegates.
G.      That Mr.   Ezeanokwasa  collected  the  sum  of Three  million  naira (N3,000,000)  from  Dr.  Enemuo for the conduct of the scheduled primaries but never disclosed this to the party resulting to very shoddy arrangements on that faithful day. His actions are callous, reprehensible ignominious in all ramifications constitutionally, socially, ethically, as well as anti-democratic.
iii.    That the State Exco needed to salvage the image of the party in the state and save it from possible disintegration as well as public ridicule hence his suspension and removal.
iv.    That a five man disciplinary committee has been constituted" to (oak fnta these matters of grave concern, investigate, and make appropriate recommendations within one week.
v.    That Comrade Uche Ugwoji has today been elected as the Acting State Chairman to pilot the affairs of the party in the state pending the outcome of the report of the disciplinary committee set up by the State Exco.
This communique is written, dated, signed and submitted at Awka, today Monday 4th September, 2017 by the following Exco members
4.    The Plaintiff avers that the said words in their natural and ordinary meaning are Defamatory of him.
5.    The Plaintiff further avers that by the said words the Defendants meant and was understood to mean that:
(a)       The Plaintiff is a cheat and not better than a common criminal.
(b)      The Plaintiff is not a fit and proper person to be a public officer and is fraudulent.
(c)       The   Plaintiff   has   committed   criminal   offences   to   theft,   fraud, embezzlement, official corruption and abuse of office, offences which are perishable under the laws of Nigeria on conviction to several years of imprisonment with land labour.
(d)     The Plaintiff is an unreliable person not worthy of thrust.
6.     The Plaintiff will rely on the heading of the aforesaid publication as well as the whole passage at the trial, it is hereby needed.
7.    The aforesaid communique written on the Labour Party letterhead was published to:
i.        Resident Electoral Commission (INEC) Anambra State.
ii.        The State Chairman IPAC Anambra State
iii.        The   Commissioner   of   Police,   Anambra   State   Police   Command
Headquarters,
iv.    The State Director, Directorate of State Security Services, Anambra
State Command Headquarters,
v.      The National Chairman, National Secretary Labour Party 29 Oke Agbe Street, off Ladoke Akintola Boulevard Garki 2 Abuja.
vi.     The National Working Committee, Labour Party National Secretariat, 29 Oke Agbe Secretariat off Ladoke Akintola Boulevard Garki 2 Abuja.
8.       The publication of 4th September, 2017 was directed against the stand of transparent honesty which the Plaintiff maintained as the Chairman of the Labour Party Anambra State Chapter and was calculated to portray the Plaintiff in very bad light and influencing public opinion against the Plaintiff with the sole purpose of painting him as having many skeletons in his cupboard.
9.    The Plaintiff will contend at the trial of this suit that he never collected the sum of N3,000,000 from Dr. Erumuo nor authorized any person to collect three million naira (N3,000,000.00) on my behalf from Dr. Erumuo or any money at all.
10.     Soon   after   the   aforesaid   publication,   the   Plaintiff   received   letters, telephone calls and personal calls about the alleged fraud as published, asking and urging  him  to take  steps to  salvage  his good  name and impressions already created in the minds of reasonable members of the public by the said publication.
11.    The Plaintiff will lead evidence at the hearing to show that the libelous publication affected not only his immediate family but also his extended family and friends at home and abroad.
12.     The Plaintiff has in consequence been seriously injured in his character, credit and reputation and in the way of his relationship with a cross-section of people  who  knows  him,  bringing  him  into  public scandal,  odium, contempt and hatred.
13.     Unless restrained by this Honourable Court, the Defendants will further publish the said or similar publication of the Plaintiff.
14.       WHEREFORE the Plaintiff claim against the Defendants as follows: -
(a)    The sum of Nl,000,000,000 (One Million naira only) as aggravated and general damages for words falsely and maliciously published by the Defendants and concerning the Plaintiff in the article of 4th day of September, 2017 under the caption:

“VOTE OF CONFIDENCE AND IMMEDIATE SUSPENSION FROM OFFICE OF COMRADE LUKE EZEANOKWASA, THE FORMER ANAMBRA STATE CHAIRMAN OF LABOUR PARTY BOTHERING ON ANTI-PARTY ACTIVITIES, GROSS INCOMPETENCE AND EMBEZZLEMENT OF PARTY FUNDS”

(b)    AN INJUNCTION restraining the Defendants from further writing, printing or causing to be written or circulated or otherwise publishing of the Plaintiff the said or similar libel.

Dated this _________ day of _________ 2017

Nelson Uzoegbo Esq.,
Counsel to the Plaintiff
Nelson Uzoegbo & Associates
Plot No. 241/246 Umunri Close,
Umukabia New Layout, Amawbia.
ADDRESS FOR SERVICE
The Defendants
Road 1 House 12,
Udoka Housing Estate, Awka.

Labour Party Chairman Comrade Luke Ezeanokwasa drags 6 Executive Members to court defamation Labour Party Chairman Comrade Luke Ezeanokwasa drags 6 Executive Members to court defamation  Reviewed by Odogwu Emeka Odogwu on Monday, September 18, 2017 Rating: 5

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