APGA Slates Anam­bra Gu­ber Pri­mary for Au­gust 15

Ag­baso is na­tional chair­man, in­sists NWC

THISDAY - - NEWSXTRA - Olawale Aji­mo­tokan David-Chy­ddy Eleke

The Na­tional Chair­man of the All Pro­gres­sives Grand Al­liance (APGA), Chief Vic­tor Oye, yes­ter­day said the party had slated Au­gust 15 for its pri­mary elec­tion to se­lect a can­di­date to fly its flag in the November 18 gov­er­nor­ship elec­tion in the state.

Oye stated this in an in­ter­view with jour­nal­ists at his house in Amaw­bia, Anam­bra State.

He said this was com­ing on the heels of two sep­a­rate High Court judg­ments in Awka and Nnewi last Fri­day, where the courts held that the fac­tional Na­tional Chair­man of the party, Chief Martin Ag­baso, can­not hold the pri­mary elec­tion for the party.

Oye said with the judg­ments, Ag­baso has been per­ma­nently got­ten rid of in the party. He said Ag­baso was not a mem­ber of the party and as such, can­not con­tend its lead­er­ship.

He said: “The two court judg­ment came si­mul­ta­ne­ously, and you saw the joy the peo­ple ex­pressed yes­ter­day over it. The court sim­ply in­ter­preted the con­sti­tu­tion of the party and said the chair­man of the party was elected through a na­tional con­ven­tion, and only a na­tional con­ven­tion can re­move him.

“The Supreme Court made this clear in the mat­ter be­tween Makarfi and Sher­iff in PDP. So we have re­solved the prob­lem; there is no more prob­lem in the party, and so we are forg­ing ahead.

Oye said the party would start the sale of nom­i­na­tion form within the week, but re­fused to state how many as­pi­rants were in­di­cat­ing in­ter­ests to run on the plat­form of the party be­sides the state Gov­er­nor, Chief Wil­lie Obiano.

Mean­while, Oye has de­nied that for­mer Gov­er­nor of the state, Peter Obi, has fi­nally left the APGA.

He said his party has been speak­ing with Obi on the need to re­turn, and ex­pressed con­fi­dence that soon, Obi would re­turn to the party.

On whether Obi would sup­port his suc­ces­sor, Obiano, to win a sec­ond term de­spite the frosty re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two, Oye said Obi has no other op­tion but to sup­port Obiano.

Mean­while, Ag­baso has been backed by the Na­tional Work­ing Com­mit­tee of the party as its Act­ing Na­tional Chair­man.

The back­ing fol­lowed the val­i­da­tion of a High Court or­der of man­damus that sacked Oye by the Court of Ap­peal in Enugu.

The NWC in­sisted at the week­end that Ag­baso re­mains the na­tional chair­man of APGA pend­ing when both the Court of Ap­peal and Supreme Court de­cide oth­er­wise.

APGA’s po­si­tion was taken via a state­ment is­sued by the party’s act­ing Na­tional Pub­lic­ity Sec­re­tary, Ona­pu­ru­agu Prince Ukaegbu, where it be­rated Oye and his group for chal­leng­ing the judg­ment of the Ap­peal Court at a lower court.

The state­ment said the ac­tion ridiculed the Nige­rian ju­di­ciary, stress­ing that the party would not join hands in bring­ing the ju­di­ciary to ridicule, as the judg­ment of the Ap­peal Court su­per­seded what­ever judg­ment was pro­nounced at the lower court.

The In­de­pen­dent Na­tional Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (INEC) was on July 10 com­pelled by an Ap­peal Court, sit­ting in Enugu, to recog­nise and deal with the Ag­baso-led, APGA NWC, after the for­mer chair­man, Oye was sus­pended.

The or­der also val­i­dated a High Court rul­ing on the same mat­ter.

The devel­op­ment, which led to the APGA lead­er­ship to fix its pri­mary elec­tion and congress for the November 18 Anam­bra State gov­er­nor­ship elec­tion for Au­gust 17, 2017 in Awka was, how­ever, chal­lenged by the for­mer chair­man.

“The APGA notes with amuse­ment and de­ri­sion, the bas­tardi­s­a­tion of the Anam­bra State ju­di­ciary by the gov­ern­ment of Anam­bra State un­der the watch­ful eyes of Gov­er­nor Wil­lie Obiano, in their hal­lu­ci­nated at­tempt to prop up their pup­pet chair­man, Oye.

“The Awka High Court ju­di­cial ras­cal­ity is of no mo­ment. Ar­ti­cle 20(4) of APGA Con­sti­tu­tion un­der which Oye was sus­pended from of­fice is ex­plicit and does not re­quire a na­tional con­ven­tion and should not have be­fud­dled the Judge in his mis­chief and mis­ap­pli­ca­tion,” the state­ment said.

It added that the Nnewi In­ter­locu­tory Or­der did not call for much dis­cus­sion, be­ing a re­hearse of the ear­lier ex-parte or­der va­cated by the same court as be­ing of­fen­sive to sec­tion 87(11) of the Elec­toral Act 2010 as amended.

“The pro­vi­sions of the Elec­toral Act is clear and robs any court the ju­ris­dic­tion and pow­ers to bar per­sons, par­ties and the INEC from con­duct­ing pri­maries or elec­tion.”

Ukaegbu noted fur­ther that the party’s programme and ac­tiv­i­ties for the gu­ber­na­to­rial elec­tion in Anam­bra sched­uled for November 18, 2017 re­mains on track.

How­ever, Obiano has de­scribed as land­mark, the re­cent court judg­ments de­liv­ered by Awka and Nnewi High Courts which af­firmed Oye as the au­then­tic Na­tional Chair­man of APGA

He also said it was a vin­di­ca­tion of his ear­lier po­si­tion.

A state­ment is­sued by his Se­nior Me­dia Aide, Oliver Ok­pala, in Awka said the judg­ment has re­stored the hope of Nige­ri­ans in the prin­ci­ple of the in­de­pen­dence and im­par­tial­ity of the ju­di­ciary.

Ac­cord­ing to him, “the judg­ment on APGA and that of the PDP which up­held the lead­er­ship of Sen­a­tor Ahmed Makarfi recently has once again af­firmed the prin­ci­ple of the supremacy of po­lit­i­cal party above other sec­tional con­sid­er­a­tions.”

He said the judg­ment was a frank re­minder to mer­chants of im­punity in po­lit­i­cal par­ties that there is no longer room for their law­less­ness in the na­tion’s po­lit­i­cal space.

Ok­pala ad­vised other arms of gov­ern­ment to em­u­late the ju­di­ciary which he said had al­ways risen up to the oc­ca­sion whenever democ­racy was at the cross­roads.

The me­dia aide said the judg­ment on APGA has once again con­firmed the cor­rect­ness and clear di­rec­tion of Obiano as well as cleared off all im­ped­i­ments to his re­elec­tion bid.

He de­scribed Obiano as a man who be­lieves in the rule of law and ab­hors in its en­tirety, po­lit­i­cal ras­cal­ity, im­punity and law­less­ness.

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