AGN crisis: My removal is a miscarriage of justice, says Ibinabo

imagesThe last is yet to be heard of the crisis rocking the Actors Guild of Nigeria, AGN, in recent times as the woman at the centre of the matter, Ibinabo Fiberesima during the week stormed the Court of Appeal to challenge the Federal High Court ruling on Monday, which nullified the election that brought her into office for the second time as President of the guild.

Justice James Tsoho who gave the ruling, said the election was conducted against court order and ordered all parties involved to maintain the status quo.

The suit was filed by one actor, St. Maradona Mikevine, who was the National Treasurer in the election that produced another popular actor, Emeka Ike, as AGN president.

Mikevine, in his suit, argued that the election that brought Ibinabo into office was conducted in the face of a subsisting court order restraining the conduct of AGN election.

The popular actor also, urged the court to determine whether it was proper for an election to be conducted in the face of an order to the contrary, and whether anyone could parade himself or herself as AGN executive based on an election conducted against a court order. The suit that brought about the initial order was filed by Emeka Ike.

Ibinabo who insisted that she was not the one that conducted the election that produced her as AGN president but the AGN board itself, had stressed that Mikevine ought to have channelled his grievance with the election to the Electoral Committee set up the guild, and not the court.

Meanwhile, in an appeal suit No: FHC/L/CS/734/13, and dated 17th of March, 2015, which was made available to WG, the sacked President of AGN, is seeking an order of the Court of Appeal, setting aside the decision of the lower court, which nullified her election.

She’s also praying the Court of Appeal among other things to dismiss or strike out this action in its entirety. According to the suit, Ibinabo is challenging the ruling on the ground that Justice James Tsoho erred in law in holding that the Plaintiff has the locus standi to bring this action at the Federal High Court.

The former beauty queen is also faulting the trial Judge for proceeding to hear and granting reliefs against persons who are not party to the case instituted against her since 2011, by Emeka Ike.

In addition, she’s insinuating that Justice James Tsoho did not make any finding on the specific ultra vires action of the Defendants that entitled the Plaintiff to institute the case against her, since he was not a party to the suit number FHC/L/365/2011 which his action was founded among other grudges.

“Take notice that the Defendant being dissatisfied with decision contained in the judgement of the Federal High Court dated, 16th of March, 2015, do hereby appeal to the Court of Appeal upon the grounds set out in paragraph 3 and will in the hearing of the appeal seek the reliefs set out in paragraph 4”, reads the suit. A date is yet to be fixed for the hearing of the appeal.

However, reacting to Ibinabo’s decision to seek redress in the Court of Appeal, Emeka maintains that she has no case as he points out what it entails to effect an appeal. Noting that the way forward for the guild is for Ibinabo to abide by the court order and vacate her office as the President of AGN.

Ike had filed a suit on July 25, 2013 to contest the formation of an illegal government coined “National Unity,” to run the affairs of the AGN. The actor had sought an order of court, reviewing the 2007 Constitution of the guild, as it relates to the tenure of members of Board of Trustees.

Actors who are jubilating over Ibinabo’s removal

However, mixed-reactions have continued to trail the court verdict. While some Nollywood practitioners have started to drum up support for the Ibinabo-led AGN government, many others are jubilating over the removal of the former beauty queen as the President of AGN.

One of the actors who are jubilating is MC Smith Ochendo, who once dragged Ibinabo to court in 2013, to seek the interpretation of the court on whether the President of the Actors’ Guild of Nigeria, Ibinabo Fiberesima should hold the post or not, being as ex-convict.

Reacting to the ruling, Ochendu said, “Justice has prevailed against all odds. The Court of Law is not ruled by emotion. The truth must prevail at all time. The court ordered all parties involved to maintain the status quo, but the Board of Trustees of AGN went ahead and conducted the election, presenting Ibinabo as the President of the Guild. But today, justice has prevailed. I am on a movie set in Enugu and we are jubilating at the moment,” he echoed.

Also, writing on his Facebook page popular film director, Dickson Iroegbu said, “When I heard over the radio that the former President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) had been sacked by the court, I quickly called my Rasta brethren McSmith Ochendo to affirmed the news – thereafter I called another brethren, now acting president, Chief Emeka Ike to salute his rugged and dogged commitment to the rule of law. I advised though, that this victory be celebrated by all Nollywoodians at home and abroad. May the face of Nollywood reclaim her pride of place again.”