By Dirisu Yakubu
As the war of words continues to intensify between Chiefs Edozie Njoku and Victor Oye, over who the authentic national chairman of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA is, the former Monday, gave a vivid account of the process leading to his affirmation as the validly elected chairman of the party by the Supreme Court.
In a press release he personally signed, Njoku said attempt to distract him from the job at hand, to weaken the chances of APGA ahead of the 2023 elections is the reason those who did not wish the party well are calling him all sorts of names.
He said: “As a political party, we have noticed series of attempts to confuse the salient issues relating to the recent Supreme Court judgment by some individuals in a bid to create confusion where none exist.”
“Recall that ever since the nation’s apex court declared that the removal of Chief Edozie Njoku, as the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) was illegal and non-justiciable, some misguided individuals whose stock in trade is to benefit from crisis, went to town with the narrative that the pronouncement of the Supreme Court was forged.
“We wish to state that one Jude Okeke claimed that he assumed the position of the Acting Chairman of the Party after Chief Edozie Njoku, who emerged from the National Convention of APGA, which held in Owerri, Imo State capital on May 31, 2019, was suspended.
“On the basis of that false claim, the Jigawa State High Court sitting at Birin Kudu ruled that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should deal with the said Jude Okeke and uploaded the name of the Governorship candidate submitted by him for the November 6, 2021, Anambra State Governorship Election.
“Dissatisfied by that Jigawa State High Court ruling, Ozonkpu Victor Oye, who had been in court with Chief Edozie Njoku approached the Court of Appeal, Kano Division, praying that the Judgment of Jigawa State High Court be set aside.
“After listening to the arguments of the Counsel to the parties in the suit, the Court of Appeal set aside the ruling of the Jigawa State High Court on the basis that the court lacked territorial jurisdiction to entertain the matter, which amounted to Forum Shopping.
“Stunned by the Appeal Court Kano’s reversal of the Jigawa State High Court ruling that empowered him to submit name of governorship candidate to INEC, Jude Okeke went to the Supreme Court on Appeal.
“At the Supreme Court, Jude Okeke’s Appeal was dismissed on the grounds that the purported removal of Victor Oye was not in order and that his decision to go to far away Jigawa State for an exercise that happened in Southeast amounts to Forum Shopping and abuse of the court process.
“However, based on the clerical error purporting that it was Victor Oye. that was suspended, Chief Edozie Njoku applied to the Supreme Court for a review to correct the erroneous impression that it was Oye that was suspended.
“Chief Njoku’s letter to the Supreme Court was captioned; REQUEST TO CORRECT THE MISPLACEMENT OF NAMES IN YOUR LORDSHIP’S JUDGEMENT IN SUIT NO: SC/CV/686/2021 AS CONTAINED IN PAGE 13, PARAGRAPH 1.
“It was on this application that the Apex Court relied on to attend to our request. Both our application to the Supreme Court and their response are covered by the law.
“For the purposes of clarity, Order 8 Rule 16 of the Supreme Court of Nigeria states: the Supreme Court can Suo Motu or by a letter (application) review any judgment once given and delivered by it save to correct any clerical mistake or some error arising from any accidental slip or omission, or to vary the judgment or order so as to give effect to its meaning or intention’. This was what the Supreme Court relied on in this instance.
“At this juncture, it behooves us to restate that ignorance of the law is not excuse. It is obvious from Chief Edozie Njoku’s request to the Supreme Court dated May 6, 2022 that those alleging forgery of Supreme Court judgment or denying that the apex court made the ruling are simply mischievous.
“Ridiculing a Supreme Court Judgment suggests that Nigeria is not a nation guided by laws.
“It might interest the public to note that the National Working Committee (NWC) of our Great Party, APGA, and Chief Edozie Njoku would explore legal avenues to address the defamation and calumny poured on them by those who believe that Nigeria is a country of anything goes.
“I have continued to receive felicitations and solidarity visit by APGA faithful and supporters across the world. The Supreme Court decision on May 9, 2022 and the affirmation by the Federal High Court, Abuja, of the Owerri National Convention have put an end to leadership contestation in APGA.
“While we wait for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to do the needful, we appeal to all APGA members, well-wishers and supporters to remain calm and law abiding.
“We are confident that INEC being a creation of the law: will at the appropriate time do what it is supposed to do to keep the records straight. When that is done, those who rush to the media to make unguarded utterances will seek other ways to occupy their time.”