By NBF News

The battle for the soul of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) is yet to end as Chief Chekwas Okorie has come out boldly to challenge his opponent, Chief Victor Umeh's claim to the leadership of the party. Reacting to a newspaper advertorial published in the name of the party, Chief Okorie, in a statement personally signed by him, disputed the claim made in the advertisement that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had resolved the leadership tussle in the party by giving its tacit approval to Umeh's leadership.

According to the statement, the leadership tussle still remained a subject of litigation before a Federal High Court in Abuja in a suit filed by Umeh in which he challenged Okorie's reelection as the party's chairman during a convention held on September 2, 2009.

While calling on members of the public to ignore the contents of the advertisement, Okorie insisted that INEC had not given its stamp of approval to either of the parties contending for the leadership of APGA as, according to him, neither him nor Chief Umeh had been officially issued form CF 001 and form CF 002 by INEC.

'Therefore, it is presumptuous and preposterous for Chief Umeh to purportedly hold party primaries toward the 2011 elections,' he stated.

He alleged that the board of INEC might have been misled by an official who had taken a partisan position in the leadership dispute of the party.

While regretting the damage the leadership crisis had done to the party, he warned that candidates of the party should desist from allowing their nomination forms to be endorsed by Chief Umeh or any unauthorised person, who was not elected at the September 2, 2009 national convention of the party as such endorsements would render illegitimate and invalid their candidature.

'In the same token, INEC did not find Chief Umeh competent to sign the nomination forms of Mr. Peter Obi in the election that took place in February 2010. Nothing by any stretch of the imagination has changed to now confer on Chief Umeh an undeserved status of the national chairman of APGA,' the statement said.