From Chuks Collins

?An Awka High Court presided over by Hon Justice Hope Ozoh has set aside its earlier order against the presentation and installation of Chief Austine Nwankwo as the new traditional ruler of Isiagu Ancient Kingdom, in Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra state, acknowledging the court had no jurisdiction to make such orders as at the time it did.

In its ruling yesterday, following the motion for joinder in the suit ref A/289M/2013 brought by the monarch, (HRM Nwankwo), the court set aside its earlier ruling of 14 March,2013 for lack of jurisdiction, and that it ought not to have made the order/s, especially as they were made without the monarch being joined as a party in the suit. Whereas he(monarch)’s interest is directly and materially affected, and without whom, the issues cannot be effectually and completely determined.

The court also held that “the ruling was delivered in the absence of the Applicant(the monarch), contrary to the principles of fair hearing under Sec 36 of the 1999 Constitution(as amended)

The court acknowledged the submissions of all the parties, and citing some already decided relevant cases in Nnaji vs Aneke(1996)2 NWLR Pt 430 p269, Odeleye vs Adepegba(2001)5 NWLR Pt 706 p330, CCB Nig Ltd Vs Onwuchekwa(2003) NWLR Pt 647 p65 noted that “a person can be joined as a defendant where he is (a) a necessary party because the plaintiff’s case or the defendant’s case in the existing action cannot be effectively and completely determined without the joinder….”

The ruling also noted that since the court lacked the jurisdiction to make the orders of?March 14/15, 2013 which it now set aside, the presentation and installation of Chief Austine Nwankwo as the Traditional ruler of Isiagu could not be stopped or invalidated. So the move by one Chike Akubueze and Nze Danpaul Nwokonkwo to stop Nwankwo has failed.

The President General of the community, Mr ThankGod Anago and Ben Nwankwo were dragged to court for presenting the monarch, Nwankwo to the Awka South Council and the state government to be recognized as the Igwe of the community, having satisfied all the traditional and official processes for the selection and installation of a new monarch.

The community leaders were also accused of importing a non-existing aspect of the community’s tradition by rotating the Igwe stool between the two distinct Umuzor and Ebe clans. The issue had since in 2008 been decided conclusively in suit No A/294/08 between Chief Isaac Okolo Vs Chiefs?Sunday?Ozumba, Herbert Okafor and Barrister Innocent Nchezo, before Justice Peter Umeadi, the incumbent state chief judge.

With the ruling, there was a non-stop jubilation all,over Isiagu in anticipation of the release of certificate of recognition to Igwe Nwankwo at once by Gov Peter Obi, since he has ostensibly crossed all known obstacles and huddles.

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