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APGA Leadership: Crack In Okwu’s Camp As Plaintiffs Denounce Court Judgment

By OBIORA IFOH

There is a crack in the Maxi Okwu leadership of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, as three out of the five plaintiffs that went to court to challenge the Victor Umeh-led leadership of the party on Monday denounced the judgment of a Federal High Court in Abuja which ousted Umeh and the National Secretary of the party, Abdudulahi Sani Shikafi.

Deputy National Youth Leader, Ibrahim Carefor, National Organizing Secretary, Gbenga Afeni and National Vice Chairman (North East), Abubakar Adamu, while briefing newsmen in Abuja said that the court refused to grant their application withdrawing from the suit, and vowed to challenge the decision at the Court of Appeal.

Carefor said: “We are disappointed with the judgment of Justice Abdul Kafarati, because we had earlier on withdrawn from the suit a month before the judgment. So we don't know the reason why he should go ahead with the judgment when three out of the five plaintiffs in the suit have withdrawn. We had withdrawn in order to maintain a lasting peace in the party and to help the leadership of the party led by Chief Umeh and Alhaji Shinkafi in re-building the party.

“We also wanted to tow the line of our able governor, Peter Obi, who is now the leader of the party and chairman of the APGA Board of Trustees, BoT who reconciled with Chief Umeh in the interest of the party. It was in compliance with that that we also reconciled with our brother and friend Alhaji Shinkafi, as the representative of the North in the party”.

Faulting the judgment on the grounds that three out of the five plaintiffs have already withdrawn from the suit adding, Carefor said: “Our next line of action is to go to the Court of Appeal to challenge the decision of Justice Kafarati.” An Abuja Federal High Court had last Wednesday sacked APGA National Chairman, Umeh and its Secretary, Shinkafi from office. The court declared Okwu as the National Chairman of the party.

However in a swift reaction, the Umeh leadership of APGA has filed a motion for stay of execution, an application for an order of injunction retraining Okwu and his co-plaintiffs from interfering in the leadership of the party pending the appeal it filed challenging the judgment of the court.

Okwu had dragged Umeh, Shinkafi and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, before the court challenging their continual stay in office beyond what the constitution of the party provided for. While reacting to the decision of the court, Umeh said that “the judgment of Justice Kafarati did not come to us as a surprise, because the judgment was supposed to have been delivered on February 7; so the sudden change of date was obviously to ambush the programmes of APGA and enable the other side pursue their case at the election tribunal at Awka, but clearly the judgment was delivered without jurisdiction.

“The judgment is an attempt to execute the judgment of the Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Innicent Umezulike, so it was that convention that was purportedly conducted that the judge relied on to deliver the judgment in favour of Okwu, Justice Kafarati was gravely in error, so there is nothing to worry about, the convention has no foundation, and the said convention relied on by the court has been set aside by the Court of Appeal, we have an application for a stay, notice of appeal including an application for an order of injunction restraining them from interfering with the affairs of the party. We are unruffled by the judgment because we know that the Court of Appeal will at all times protect its judgment.”

Umeh pointed out that “ it is the same Justice Kafarati that nullified Olagunsoye Oyinlola's election as the National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which was later set aside by the Court of Appeal, the judgment which is a hatchet job arrived late as APGA has successfully prosecuted the Anambra governorship and won with a landslide and the just concluded local government elections, I enjoin our party men to disregard the judgment as this is clearly a judicial rascality.

Meanwhile, Shinkafi, had said that the judgement was a fraud that would be challenged in the higher court, adding that the judgement was judicial rascality, as the Court of Appeal had earlier upheld the election of Umeh as APGA chairman.

He said: “When a superior court of record had given a judgment on the leadership of APGA, the judgment of the Awka High Court on this matter as well as the Court of Appeal, Enugu Division had already nullified the Okwu convention, APGA was not cited as a party in this suit; the party cannot be judged in its absence, besides, the judge has no jurisdiction to have heard the matter.”

Saying that the nonjoinder of APGA in the suit has rendered it incompetent, Shinkafi said that the judgment on the APGA leadership is still pending before the Supreme Court, adding that it was for this reason that a total over-haul of the judicial system of the country was desired, His words: “The Supreme Court had in many cases held that the courts lacks jurisdiction to dabble into the internal affairs of political parties

MAXI OKWU IS AN EXPELLED APGA MEMBER


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