By Anayo Okoli
UMUAHIA—AHEAD of APC national convention, a faction of the party in Abia State has threatened the national chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun with contempt charges for defying a court order to conduct the state congress of the party but instead, he went ahead to inaugurate Hon Donatus Nwankpa as state chairman.
Before the May 19, 2018, state congresses of APC held across the country, an Abia state high court had sacked the Nwankpa-led executive committee and recognized Dr. Emmanuel Ndukwe as the authentic chairman of the party in Abia.
Speaking to journalists in Umuahia, the publicity secretary of the Ndukwe-led faction, Hon. Mike Ozoemena said the faction decided to press contempt charges against Oyegun so as to remind him that the rule of law remains the backbone of a democratic society.
He recalled that a court order issued by an Abia State high court on March 8, 2018 “restrained Oyegun, Nwankpa and his executives and their agents from organizing any ward, local government or state congresses or primaries of the APC in Abia State.”
He therefore, expressed disappointment that Oyegun ignored the valid order properly served on him.
Justice Collins Okoroafor in the order specifically restrained the Oyegun leadership “from planning, implementing, executing or even holding to discuss or strategize on such issues and other issues concerning nomination or sponsorship of candidates for any elective position in Abia state or Nigeria except with the Dr Emmanuel Ndukwe-led state executive committee pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit”.
But Ozoemena lamented that without vacating the court order, the APC national leadership still went ahead to send state congress committee to Abia State headed by Senator Jonathan Zwingina as chairman and Hajia Rabi Sulu Gamabari as secretary. However, the committee on arrival in Umuahia conducted a parallel congress supervised by Zwingina and another by Hajia Rabi Sulu Gamabari.
While the Zwingina committee elected the Nwankpa-led faction, the Hajia Gambari elected Dr. Emmanuel Ndukwe-led faction, with Gambari saying that her group was in Abia “to ensure that the rule of law is upheld in the country.”
While Nwankpa and Ndukwe emerged chairmen from the parallel congresses Oyegun later included the former along when he inaugurated state chairmen of APC at a ceremony in the party’s national secretariat Abuja.
Against this background, Ozoemena said that Oyegun should prove himself as a democrat by obeying the court order and urged him to emulate President Muhammadu Buhari, who has demonstrated his love for democracy and rule of law by recognizing the outcome of June 12 1993 presidential poll.