July 31, 2017

APGA primaries: 2 Anambra courts stop Agbaso

APGA primaries: 2 Anambra courts stop Agbaso

Agbaso and Oye

…Agbaso remains APGA national chair —NWC

By Henry Umoru , Vincent Ujumadu & Omeiza Ajayi

AWKA—TWO High Courts in Anambra State sitting in Nnewi and Awka have stopped the  national chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Martin Agbaso, from conducting the governorship primaries of the party for the November 18 election.

But the National Working Committee of APGA has maintained that Chief Agbaso remains the party’s acting national chairman, following the validation of a high court Order of Mandamus that sacked the former chairman, Victor Oye, by the Appeal Court in Enugu.

An Enugu High Court presided by Justice Ozoemenam had on May 22, 2017 declared Agbaso as the acting national chairman of the party, a declaration that threw confusion into the party.

Agbaso and Oye

The embattled chairman of the party, Dr. Oye and the party’s National Working Committee, NWC, however, approached the courts in Awka and Nnewi to stop Agbaso and his group from acting and performing any role on behalf of APGA.

Justice Chukwudi Okaa presiding at Nnewi High Court granted an interlocutory injunction restraining Agbaso and three others, namely, Okechukwu Nkolagu, Jerry Obasi and Chuks Nwoga, from taking any steps towards organising, conducting, or holding any congress or primary election in the name of APGA for the purpose of nominating any gubernatorial candidate of APGA for the forthcoming governorship election in  Anambra State.

The court had also earlier declared that the only members of the party’s NWC were those headed by Chief Oye.

The declaration was greeted by jubilation in various parts of the state, weekend, as the crisis in the party had been of serious concern to APGA members and supporters with the approach of the governorship election.

Oye, while speaking with reporters in Awka said with the declaration, justice had finally triumphed over falsehood.

He said: “The courts have proved that constitutionality can triumph over impunity and legality can triumph over illegality. The judgment of the Enugu High Court was a miscarriage of justice and that was why I went to court to challenge it.

Meanwhile, the leadership of the party had fixed August 15, 2017 for the party’s governorship primary, with Oye explaining that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had already been notified of the date.

He, however, said the party was yet to start selling its nomination forms to governorship aspirants, assuring that the party would conduct free and fair primary for all those who might show interest in the governorship of the state, including the incumbent governor, Chief Willie Obiano, who is seeking reelection.

Judgments, a landmark —Obiano

Meantime, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Strategic Communications to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, Prince Oliver Okpala, has described the judgments as a landmark in the nation’s march to a viable democratic jurisprudence.

Prince Okpala in a statement in Awka said the judgments had restored the hope of Nigerians in the principle of the independence and impartiality of the judiciary.

According to the media aide, the judgments on APGA and of the PDP, which upheld the leadership of Senator Ahmed Makarfi recently have once again affirmed the principle of the supremacy of political party above other sectional considerations.

He said the judgments are a frank reminder to merchants of impunity in political parties that there is no longer room for their lawlessness in the nation’s political space.

Agbaso remains APGA national chair — NWC

In a statement, yesterday, in Abuja and signed by the party’s acting National Publicity Secretary, Onapuruagu Prince Ukaegbu, APGA described the decision of Oye and his group to challenge the judgment of the Appeal Court at a lower court as ridiculing the Nigerian judiciary, stressing that it would not join hands in bringing the Nigerian judiciary to ridicule, as the judgment of the Appeal Court supersedes whatever judgment the group will get at the lower court.

Ukaegbu said: “Ochudo Martin Agbaso remains the national chairman of APGA until the court of Appeal or Supreme Court of Nigeria decides otherwise.

“The party’s programme and activities for the November 18,  2017 governorship election in Anambra state are  unstoppable.”

Obiano has not attempted to dump APGA—Oye

Meantime, the  factional national chairman of All Progresives Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Victor Oye has said that Governor Willie Obiano has never made any attempt to leave the party as was being speculated in some quarters.

He also said that he did not believe that former Governor Peter Obi was done with the party, adding that there was the likelihood that he would return.

Speaking in an interview in Awka, Oye described Obiano as a highly principled person, adding that those who had done any business with him could attest to that.

He, however, did not rule out the possibility of politicians from other political parties trying to woo him into their fold, describing such attempts as natural in politics.

He said: “There is nothing unusual for other parties to try to woo him; after all it is part of politics. They know he is an asset and that is why I am even surprised that some people have the courage to face him in the governorship race.

“You do not change a winning team and imagine what would have been happening if Obiano had not provided adequate security in Anambra State, which has made the state the safest in the country.

“In many states, the workers are agonizing, but there is no such situation in Anambra State because the governor is doing his work well. He is not like those who see politics as business and are prepared to do anything to make money.

“Those are not the kind of people we need in the country at this time. We need a leader like Obiano who has made our state to shining in the midst of recession.”