…As faction accuses INEC of bias, partisanship
…No S-Court order on stay of execution— APGA
By Chris Ochayi & Tony Nezianya
ABUJA—The leadership crisis rocking the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, is far from being over as the faction led by Chief Martin Agbaso has approached the Supreme Court, seeking nullification of the Appeal Court verdict, which reinstated Dr. Victor Oye as the authentic national chairman of the party
Agbaso’s appeal filed before the Supreme Court on August 16, 2017 is pleading, among other things, for stay of execution of Appeal Court verdict sitting in Enugu on the matter pending the determination of the case by the apex court.
However, a mild drama played out at the headquarters of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Abuja, where the clerk to INEC chairman, Professor Mahmud Yakubu, allegedly prevented Agbaso’s lawyer, Mr Alex Amujiogu, from submitting the notice of appeal from the Supreme Court and motion for stay of execution injunction pending before the apex court to the commission.
Irked by the development, the Agbaso-led NWC of the party has accused the management of INEC of being biased and acting in a manner that is cantankerous and inimical to political parties’ development and emancipation.
Deputy national chairman, South of the party, Mr. Jerry Obasi, told journalists shortly after the aborted mail delivery that the unfolding drama had shown that INEC is drifting into partisanship.
“We are here to show very serious and apparent disgust and shock and also express our disappointment over the stand INEC has taken so far. There is dispute in the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, where we have two feuding groups claiming the leadership of the party.
“INEC has shown a very cantankerous attitude; they don’t receive legitimate documents from us; they don’t receive mail from us, even when this matter is still pending at the various courts.
“INEC is supposed to serve as a referee. Because we are not money bags, we are not dispensing money to officers of INEC. We are calling on well-meaning Nigerians, we are calling on the chairman of INEC, we are calling on Non-Governmental Organisations, NGOs, IRI, UNDP, and other agencies, as well as the media to come to our aid over this matter of urgent importance.”
No S-Court order on stay of execution—APGA
However, the Anambra State Legal Adviser to APGA, Mr Sly Ezeokenwa, has said there is no order of the Supreme Court proclaiming “a stay of execution,” over August 16, 2017 Appeal Court decision.
The decision had affirmed Victor Ike Oye as the authentic national chairman of the party.
Ezeokenwa told newsmen in Awka, yesterday: “The Supreme Court is on recess and will be resuming for a new legal year on or about the middle of September.
“There is nothing as ‘vacation panel’ constituted by the Supreme Court. And for the court to make an order, they will have to sit. Again, there has to be a motion for appeal at the Supreme Court. Even a motion for appeal, does not translate into a ‘stay of execution.’
“It is, therefore, wishful thinking for anybody in his right frame of mind to conceive of such a situation.”
Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, who is one of the leading counsel on the matter, said in an interview that as far as they were concerned, the Supreme Court is on recess, adding: “There is no way the court can grant such a motion without putting the opposing party on notice. It should be treated as a rumour that it is. We have not been served anything.”
“The rumour may have been concocted to destabilise the ficle-minded. The Supreme Court will resume on or about Sept. 21, 2017.”
The special Appeal Court panel of three judges’ led by Justice Abdul Aboki in their Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017 judgement at Enugu dismissed the order of the lower court for want of jurisdiction.
The orders of a lower court granted vide ‘an order of Mandamus’ had given Agbaso the rights to illegally assume the leadership of APGA.
He had purportedly claimed to be effecting a change in leadership as directed by the Central Working Committee (CWC) for removal of Oye as the party’s National Chairman by his splinter group.
But the Appeal Court in its judgment resolved all issues in the appeal in favour of Oye and struck out the suit, saying it was wrong not to have joined a fellow directly affected by an action.
The special panel comprised Justice Abdul Aboki, (Presiding), Justice Bolaji Yesuf and Justice Ibrahim Shatta Bdlya.