By PETER OKUTU
ABAKALIKI — THE All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA yesterday declared that the party lacked the constitutional capacity to field candidate for the forthcoming 2013 governorship election in Anambra State.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Bernard Akoma, the party insisted that any candidate fielded during the election would be disqualified if his or her candidature was challenged by the opposition in any court of law.
According to him, the APGA led by Chief Maxi Okwu has already dragged Chief Victor Umeh, Alhaji Sani Shinkafi and Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to a Federal High Court in Abuja challenging their eligibility to present a candidate for APGA in the Anambra poll.
His words: “Despite the emergence of Dr. Obiano as the Victor Umeh/Peter Obi-led APGA candidate in the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State, the party may after all contest the governorship race in the state.
“The sharp division in the party notwithstanding should Umeh-led APGA faction goes ahead to endorse any candidate for the election, such candidate stands to be disqualified if his candidature is challenged in any court of law.
“APGA constitution states that a person is entitled to occupy any position in the party for a maximum of two tenures of four years each.
“The current national secretary of APGA, Alhaji Sani Shinkafi, was elected the Secretary of the party January 10, 2003. By August 2013, Shinkafi will be spending his 10th year and seven months in the same position as the secretary of the party.
“This is over two clear years above his statutory right to such office in the party. Should the same Shinkafi and Umeh who was also not properly elected to the office of the national chairman according to the constitution of the party forward any candidate’s name to INEC for recognition, it will amount to building a house on sand dome.”
“This is because anything that is erected on illegality can hardly stand the test of time. For instance, President Olusegun Obasanjo cannot endorse document on behalf of the Nigeria government after exhausting his tenure stipulated by law.
“Should Umeh/Obi APGA continue to play ostrich, they may just be wetting the ground for the aggrieved members of the party as well as its opponents who are just waiting to sue the ass out the life of the party. Already the All Progressives Grand Alliance led by Chief Maxi Okwu has dragged Chief Victor Umeh, Alhaji Sani Shinkafi and Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to a Federal High Court in Abuja challenging their eligibility to present candidate for APGA in the Anambra poll.
“In suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/563/2013 dated 18th August, 2013 filed by Oba Maduabuchi, lawyer to Maxi Okwu and four others elected with him in the party’s national convention on 8th April, 2013 in Awka, the plaintiffs averred that the APGA convention and election on 10th February 2011, in Awka in which Umeh was re-elected National Chairman and Shinkafi National Secretary including other members of the National Working Committee was by voice vote contrary to Article 18(4) of the party constitution that stipulates elections shall be by secret ballots only.
“The plaintiffs also asked the court to determine, “Whether the 2nd defendant (Shinkafi) can still validly occupy the position of National Secretary of APGA in 2013 when the constitution of the party providesa maximum tenure of eight years and he was first elected as National Secretary of the party on 10th January 2013, ten years ago.
“The plaintiffs prayed the court for an order directing Umeh, Shinkafi and all the officers purportedly elected with them in February 2011 national convention by voice vote to vacate their various offices as their “election” was not in accordance with Article 18(4) of the APGA constitution which prescribes that elections shall be by secret ballot”.