The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Emmanuel Ogbeche, are to appear before the FCT High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja, on March 15.
The order to appear was for the defendants to respond to originating summons against them in respect of the disputed Dec. 4, FCT Council elections of the NUJ.
The summon was filed by Mr Okorie Michael, Counsel for the Claimant, Mr Donald Ugwu of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), against the Trustees of NUJ, 1st defendant, and Emmanuel Ogbeche of Abuja Enquirer, 2nd defendant.
Okorie asked the court to give a declaration that his client, Ugwu, was the sole candidate duly qualified to contest for the office of the chairman in the 2021 FCT council election on Dec. 4, 2021.
He also asked the court to grant an order nullifying the purported screening and clearance of the 2nd defendant by the credentials committee inaugurated by the 1st defendant contrary to the provisions of sections of Articles 1, 5, and 6 of the NUJ constitution.
Okorie also asked for an order disqualifying the 2nd defendant from contesting any elective position in the said election.
He further asked for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, agents, privies assigns or others from recognizing the 2nd defendant as a candidate in the election.
Other reliefs sought, included a declaration: “That the check off dues of the 2nd defendant, haven not been deducted at source, paid or remitted by his employer from his monthly salary as provided in Article 4 (1) a and 2 (a) of the NUJ constitution, the 2nd defendant was not in good financial standing of the union.
“That the 2nd defendant not being in good financial standing in check off dues, was not qualified as a candidate for the office of chairman of NUJ, FCT Council.
“That the screening and clearance of the 2nd defendant by the credentials committee inaugurated by the 1st defendant contrary to Articles 1 (a), 5 (9) (a-f) and 6 (7) a, b and e of the NUJ constitution was unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void.”
Okorie supported the summons with a 24-point affidavit, exhibits, and cited previous law reports, deposed to on Dec. 2.
He averred that his client had followed due process as required by the NUJ constitution and the timetable by raising objections to Ogbeche’s candidacy which were disregarded and unattended to by the credentials committee.
Okorie averred that the members of the credentials committee were sympathetic to Ogbeche and continuously protected his interest against the members of the union.
He averred that the NUJ constitution did not provide waiver of the criteria for the qualification of any candidate seeking elective office.
“I know that as fact that recognising the candidacy of the 2nd defendant without meeting up with the mandatory requirement of the union will work hardship on the sanctity and supremacy of the constitution of the union,’’ Okorie contended.
He urged the court “to up the integrity of the union by giving a literal and natural interpretation of the good will of the member of the union in the overall interest of justice.
“We posit that to do otherwise by the honourable court is to give effect and endorsement to the rule of impunity other than rule of law.”