The court of Appeal, Enugu division has dismissed the appeal filed by Basil Igwike and others challenging the conduct of a referendum to change the name of a community in Anambra State from Nkerehi to Umuchukwu.
The appellate court in its lead judgment delivered by Justice Helen Moronkeji Ogunwumiju dismissed the appeal for lack of merit and awarded N100, 000 cost against the appellants.
The appellants had through a writ on August 2007 sought for an order to prohibit and restrain the respondents (Mr. Dubem Obaze and others) and their servants from carrying on with a referendum at Nkerehi town in Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra State.
The referendum was to change the name of the town from Nkerehi to Umuchukwu. A State High court in Ekwulobia had earlier dismissed the appellants’ application thereby prompting them to appeal against the decision.
In her lead decision, Justice Ogunwumiju said: “The quarrel in this case is whether or not the name of the ‘Nkerehi’ community be changed to ‘Umuchukwu’. There is consensus from both sides that the 1st respondent tried to mediate to find a common position between the opposing sides of the argument.
“I cannot agree with learned appellants counsel that the mediation of the 1st respondent amounted to quasi judicial proceedings in as much as he did not hear any evidence in prosecution or defence of a claim in which he was obliged to take a decision.