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Media Briefing By Barrister Maxi Okwu On Matters Arising On The APGA Convention And Appeal In Respect Of Suit No. E/270/2012 Okuli Jude Ejike And Victor Umeh



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Gentlemen of the press

It is my pleasure to once again update you on matters arising in the APGA saga.

The media is currently awash with a planted and stale story that INEC issued a letter to Governor Peter Obi our dynamic Deputy Leader stating he lacks the powers to convene an APGA Convention. Yes, there was a letter dated 1st March 2013 reference Nos INEC/DPPM&L/003T titled RE: NOTICE FOR THE CONDUCT OF CONGRESSES/CONVENTION FOR THE ELECTION OF PARTY EXECUTIVES OF OUR GREAT PARTY. INEC in the said letter noted that “the power to convene a meeting of any organ of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) is vested in the Chairman of that body.”

The Commission then concluded in paragraph 3 of the letter by saying “The Commission cannot accede to your request to convene any convention or congresses.”

On the date INEC wrote this letter, there was a final judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction on 8th February 2013, declaring the position of National Chairman of APGA VACANT. The Court held firmly that the convention of the party of 10th February 2011 was “unconstitutional null and void.” The Court further stated “in strict law no national officer of the party was validly elected at that convention.”

It was obviously with a view to save the party which had been literally decapitated that the face of APGA, Governor Peter Obi sought to intervene and save the party. By the provisions of Article 10 (2) (xxxviii) of the party constitution, Governors and their Deputies produced by the party are ex-officio members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party. They were not elected by the Convention and therefore could not have been affected by the judgment of 8th February 2013.

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INEC had a contrary view as law abiding citizens we had the option to accept it or test the matter in court. We chose however to remedy the situation after better legal opinion.

Contrary to the position of INEC the power to convene a national convention is vested on the NEC. See Article 22(1) of the constitution of APGA duly filed with INEC.

It was on the strength of this that on 11th March 2013, a notice of convention slated for 8th April 2013, pursuant to section 85 of the Electoral Act 2011 (as amended), was duly served on INEC. The resolution to issue this notice was made at an emergency meeting of the rump NEC of the party at a meeting on 8th March 2013 at Awka. See Article 22(2)c of the APGA Constitution.

This is the position. We are satisfied that the convention of 8th April 2013 of our great party to elect a brand new NEC would hold. Only a court order can stop it now, and as we speak there is no such court order. We would advise the opposition to retrace their steps and join the new movement in the party. No amount of spin nor subterfuge can stop this moving train. Get on board or get out of the way.

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On Monday 25th March 2013, the matter of the appeal lodged by the erstwhile national chairman of our party Chief Victor Umeh came up at the Enugu Division of the Court of Appeal. We were surprised to notice that a special panel of the Court of Appeal had been constituted and sent down to take the matter. This was totally strange as we could not see what was so special about this case to warrant the composition of a special panel. Secondly it was done without notice to the respondent.

The matter was called and the panel without satisfying itself that the respondent had been served, proceeded to hear Umeh’s Counsel on a motion to stay the execution of the judgment of the Court below. It took the frantic efforts of sympathizers who called the respondent Okuli Jude Ejike who then made a dramatic appearance. Somehow he managed from the public gallery to draw the attention of the court after which he was duly served. The next thing was for this panel to adjourn for ruling till 8th March 2013

Maxi Okwu

Ikenecheoha II

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