APGA Crisis : Obi, Umeh Factions Trade Words In Court



Mammoth crowd of supporters of Gov Peter Obi of Anambra state and that of the embattled national chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) openly exchanged bitters and acrimonious words that nearly led to an open fight within the premises of the Federal High Court, in Awka yesterday.

However, before the situation could degenerate, heavy rain opened up and dispersed them immediately the court adjourned proceedings on the suit brought by a member of the party challenging the recent national convention of the party in Awka and the Anambra state congress of the party which produced Chief Maxi Okwu-led national executive and Chief Egwuoyibe Okoye-led Anambra state executive.

The surging supporters who thronged to the court in their thousands broke into two distinct two factions with one group singing praises of Governor Obi while members of the other faction were praising Chief Umeh, the moment Justice M.T. Salihu adjourned proceedings.

Incidentally the controversy over who was the properly briefed legal counsel of the APGA in the suit which stalled hearing on the suit on last week once again resurfaced during yesterday proceedings forcing the court to adjourn the matter to May 15, 2013 in further attempt to see if the issue would be sorted out internally by the party.

A team of lawyers, including Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Ifeanyi Ezekwelu and Kingsley Awuka during the last sitting of the court had announced their appearances on behalf of the APGA, and refused to concede to the other as the proper counsel. The court was then forced to adjourned hearing the suit and advised the lawyers to go and resolve among themselves who among them was the proper legal counsel of the party in the matter.

Though Ikpeazu was not in court yesterday, a lawyer from his chambers, Sylvester Odili and Awuka again clashed as each of them claimed he was the proper person to represent APGA.

Even as the court was yet to resolve the issue of who is the proper legal counsel of the APGA in the suit, the legal counsel to Okwu and Okoye, Oba Maduabuchi brought an application challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit.

He urged the court to determine his application before taking any further step on the suit.

Even as the application was still pending, Chief Umeh and Shinkafi through their lawyer, Chief P.I. Ikwueto brought an application urging the court to allow them to be joined in the suit, arguing that they were necessary parties.

Justice Salihu, however, after legal fireworks that lasted for more than two hours between the lawyers adjourned to May 15, 2013, to determine the issue of who is the actual legal counsel of the APGA in the suit and to hearing the application by Umeh and Shinkafi who were seeking to be joined as necessary parties.

Seaking to reporters at the court premises shortly after the adjournment, Umeh said that so long as the ruling of the Court of Appeal, Enugu still subsists, he remained the national chairman of APGA, and stated further that he was ready to welcome those who were opposed to him.

He stated that his commitment was to ensure that the party did not die.



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