By Dirisu Yakubu
The fight to finish between Chief Victor Oye, national chairman of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA and Edozie Njoku (also laying claim to the chairmanship of the party) appears far from over as the former wants the tussle to be laid to rest ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Oye had in an exclusive chat with Vanguard recently, accused Njoku of playing the enemy card in a bid to distract APGA and cost it an enormous amount of goodwill at the polls. He further argued that Njoku “who is not a member of APGA is part of a gang bent on reaping where they did not sow. We know them because each election cycle, they emerge on the political scene to cause distraction because they see APGA as a fertile ground to plough.”
On his part, Njoku has continuously insisted that the Supreme Court correction of its own judgment of October 14, 2021 makes him the authentic chairman of the party. He would go on to ask the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to accord him due recognition as APGA chairman; a development that elicited a sharp reaction from Oye who promptly urged security agencies to arrest Njoku and members of his executive committee.
The feud has now hit new height with both sides producing their respective Presidential candidate and while Oye operates from APGA national secretariat, Abuja; Njoku presides over the party’s affairs from a house facility located in the Wuse II district, both in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
Speaking on the subject matter at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja, Oye vowed to throw in the towel if Njoku successfully answered 10 vital questions even as he asked him to report himself to the nearest police station in the event of failing to provide appropriate responses within 24 hours. The answers according to Chief Oye, would enable Nigerians identify with the true authentic chairman of the party, elected by APGA members drawn from the six geo-political zones of the country.
“What were you doing prior to May 31, 2019 when from nowhere you started laying claim to the leadership of our great party, APGA?
“From where did you purchase your nomination form (if any) that qualified you to stand for election to the office of the national chairman in 2019 (as you claimed)? Produce a copy of your nomination form duly stamped at the national secretariat of APGA.
“Who was the national chairman of APGA that was in office when you held your so-called national convention on May 31, 2019 in Owerri and who handed over to you the reins of authority of the party, if any?
“Given that you held a national convention in Owerri, name the national officers of APGA in attendance. Did the national leader and Board of Trustees chairman of APGA, then Governor Willie Obiano in attendance at your so-called national convention on May 31, 2019 in Owerri? Show photo evidence.
“Did you organize a National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting of the party before your so-called national convention was held as demanded by the APGA Constitution 2014 (as amended)? Produce a copy of the 21-days notice you gave to INEC to come and monitor the Convention.
“Did INEC monitor your convention? If your answer is yes, then supply vital evidence, especially report of the monitoring team that came for convention, to collaborate your claim.
“The current constitution of APGA signed by Dr. Victor Ikechukwu Oye as national chairman and Labaran Maku as national secretary in July 2019 and deposited at INEC was a product of the May 31, 2019 national convention of APGA held in Awka. True or false?
“In all the frivolous suits you filed from 2019 till 2021, which constitution did you use? Did your so-called convention in 2019 produce any constitution?
“Name a single contribution you have made to the development of APGA in Imo State, where you come from. Is your name in the register of members in your ward? Show a copy of your membership card with dues paid and authenticated by the Imo state chairman and his secretary.
“Were you a party to the appeal filed by Jude Okeke at the Supreme Court on which judgment was delivered by the court on October 14, 2021? If the answer is yes, publish a copy of the suit filed by Jude Okeke at the apex court.
Recall that following the judgment procured by Chief Jude Okeke at the Jigawa High Court, Victor Oye sought and obtained the leave of the Court of Appeal to appeal against the said judgment as an interested party. After hearing said appeal, the Special Panel of the Court of Appeal presided over by His Lordship, Hon Justice Haruna Tsammani delivered its judgment setting aside the judgment of Jigawa High Court and proclaimed Oye as the duly elected national chairman of APGA. The said judgment of the Court of Appeal, Kano Division was affirmed by the Supreme Court in a unanimous judgment delivered by the five Justices that sat on appeal.
According to Oye, “Chief Edozie Njoku, who was not a party to the appeal (as his application for joinder was struck out by the Supreme Court), has been parading a Certified True Copy, CTC of enrolled Order of the Supreme Court purportedly signed by Hon Justice Kekeren Ekun, the most senior of the Justices that sat on the panel following the retirement of Hon Justice Mary Odili,” adding that “the said enrolled Order was purportedly certified on the 15th of July, 2022.”
Accusing Njoku of forgery, Oye says the former risks going to jail if he does not retrace his steps immediately and give APGA time to catch up on lost grounds as parties intensify their preparations for the polls.
But with Njoku insisting the apex court duly authenticated him as the national chairman of the party, it behoves on the relevant authorities to wade in and do the needful as post litigation cases await the party even in areas where it has strong foothold. As it were, both the Supreme Court and the electoral umpire have a duty to speak up in a manner of urgency, if only to set the records straight.