By Dennis Agbo
Justice A. M Liman of the Federal High court inEnugu presided over a hot session as counsels representing the two factions of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Enugu state battled on motion seeking to resolve the impasse created by the state congresses of the party held on April 19 and 20th 2018, respectively.
Whereas one of the chairmanship aspirants, Deacon Okey Ogbodo claims to have emerged chairman of the party on April 19 when the APC state congresses held nationwide, Dr. Ben Nwoye who had been the state chairman of the party in the past four years said he was reelected on the 20th of April in a rescheduled congress after an uproar that allegedly marred the congress on 19th.
Ogbodo quickly approached the federal high court where he obtained an injunction restraining Nwoye from parading himself as state chairman of APC and also an order asking the national leadership of the party to stop recognizing Nwoye as elected chairman. The court asked both parties to maintain status quo till April 6 when the motion would be determined. But before the date for court hearing, Ogbodo’s group went to the state party secretariat and inaugurated themselves as elected executive. In the same manner and within the same period, the national chairman of APC, Chief John Odeigi-Oyegun went and swore in Nwoye among others as states chairmen in Abuja.
At the hearing for the motion on Thursday, counsel to Nwoye, Godwin Onwusi asked the court to dismiss the suit for lack of jurisdiction since no federal agency was joined in the matter. Onwusi also argued that the party was registered as All Progressives Congress and not All Progressive Congress as used by the plaintiff, Ogbodo, in his entire suit.
Onwusi further argued that the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs were not justiceable as they relate to the internal affairs of a political party, noting also that the suit did not comply with the schedules and court processes Act, Section 97 and 98. In his response, Counsel to Ogbodo, Mr. Abdul Mohammed put up strong arguments on reasons the court has jurisdiction over the matter. He noted that since congresses culminate into party primaries that will elect candidates of the party, the court cannot hands off if processes to the election were not duly complied with.