The plot hatched by the Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi to confer
legitimacy on his faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) by
initiating moves to get the State High Court to declare the convention that
brought Maxi Okwu as valid will come to fruition as the court presided over by
Justice Ozor will on Monday deliver judgment on the suit.
A member of his faction Michael Joe Onwudinjo a Personal Assistant and nephew
to the Anambra State Commissioner for Works Architect Calistus was used to file
the suit challenging the ward and state congresses that brought in the Egbeoyi
Okoye led Executive Committee in Anambra State.
According to facts available the State’s Attorney-General Peter Afuba has
gotten the Anambra Chief Judge Justice Umeadi who was promised the sum of
N100million to assign the matter to Justice Ozor who is to get N50million to
declare that the ward congresses that brought in Okoye as valid.
Cited in the suit is Maxi Okwu who going by the court’s ruling will regain
Justice Ozor who was brought to the Governor for appointment as judge of the
state High Court by his cousin Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN has been used in the
past to scuttle the suit which was challenging the Governor’s refusal to
conduct Local Government Elections in Anambra State by declaring the State
Independent Electoral Commission unconstitutional thus paving the way for Obi
to use Caretaker Committees for almost his entire tenure.
Justice Ozor was made to sit from 9.00am until 5pm on Friday to ensure that the
court is ready to deliver judgment on Monday.
The plaintiff Onwudinjo has not shown in the court and has not filed a defense
to the counter claim filed by Okwu.
Justice Ozor had shut out the leadership of the party by not allowing the
application for joinder filed by the party leadership and went on to allow Okwu
to appoint a Counsel for APGA in the matter.
It would be recalled that an Awka Federal High Court, Anambra State, had
stopped Maxi Okwu and the State Chairman, Egwuoyibo Okoye, from parading
themselves a party executives.
The Court presided over by Justice M.T Salihu had also stopped the Independent
National Electoral Commission (INEC), commissioner of police, the Inspector-General
of Police and APGA from recognizing the duo.
Charles Nwazojie filed the suit on behalf of himself and the elected members of
the ward, local government and state executive committees of APGA in Anambra
The respondents included INEC, IG, Anambra CP, APGA, Okwu representing those
purportedly elected as national officers under his chairmanship as well as
Okoye representing those purportedly elected as ward, LGA and state officers of
Justice Salilu granted all the reliefs sought by the applicant, which he said was
in the best interest of justice.
The reliefs sought included “an order of mandamus compelling the first respondent
to perform its statutory and public duties as enshrined in the Section 287 (3)
of the 1999 Constitution.
He also sought an order to ensure that APGA activities, its members, officers,
organs, subordinates, servants, agents or privies, regarding its executive committees
both at the national and Anambra State chapter, conforms with the provisions of
the 1999 Constitution and the party’s constitution.
It would be recalled that the Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu, had on Thursday
adjourned indefinitely the appeal pending before it bordering on the leadership
tussle in the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, pending the decision of
the National Judicial Council, NJC, on the petition written by the respondent,
Jude Okuli accusing the panel of bias.
The three-man panel of justices including Paul Galinje (Chairman), F. A.
Kwasami and Tom Yakubu, who presided over the appeal said at the resumed
hearing of the case that the respondent, Mr. Okuli had petitioned the NJC over
their ruling for stay of execution of the Enugu State High Court’s decision
that removed from office the party’s National Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh.
According to the chairman of the panel, Justice Galinje, the NJC had forwarded
a copy of the petition to him for his comment and he had since done that,
adding that since they were aware of the pendency of the petition, the
substantive appeal could not be heard until the council takes decision on the
petition. He therefore adjourned the matter sine die saying further hearing of
the appeal would depend on the outcome of the petition before the NJC.
Meanwhile, the Appeal filed by Okuli at the Supreme Court against the stay of
execution granted Umeh by the appellate court, had been slated for hearing on
December 16 and 17, this year, one month after the scheduled November 16
governorship election in Anambra State.
The Federal High court sitting in Awka had last week vacated the interim order
it earlier made restraining Mr. Maxi Okwu, chairman of the Governor Peter Obi’s
faction of APGA , but declared that its action had no effect whatsoever on the
decision of the Appeal Court which restored Umeh to his position as APGA
Speaking shortly after the Court Session yesterday, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN)
who led Chief Umeh’s team of lawyers including Chief Patrick Ikwueto (SAN),
said: “The situation now is as announced by the Court. The court said until it
hears from the National Judicial Council. That is fair enough and I want to
commend the Justices of the Court Appeal. It shows they don’t have anything at
stake. They don’t have interest in anybody or person and that’s how it should
be and I believe that’s how Justice should be dispensed. That means they don’t
have partake or what is called insurable interest in the subject matter, in who
wins or who loses.
That’s an open demonstration of impartiality by the panel of Justices.”
Olanipekun stressed that there is nothing like status quo because, there is a
National Chairman in place “and that’s Chief Victor Umeh. So even if they like,
let them frustrate the Appeal until the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Law is certain, the Law is clear; the Court of Appeal has decided that until
otherwise ruled or decided, Victor Umeh is the National Chairman of the All
Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA. So let them continue to frustrate the
Appeal.They have gone to the Supreme Court, so let us wait until the Supreme
Court sets that decision aside. So there is no fluidity on the status quo.
“They‘ve appealed that decision, let us wait. According to them, Supreme Court
has given us 16th and 17th of December to hear their Motion and Appeal
respectively. May God grant us life, we will be there. But until then, the
Ruling of the Court of Appeal binds everybody.”
The adjournment by the Court of Appeal Enugu sine dine (indefinitely) has
heightened the desperation of Governor Obi as his co-travelers as they have
lost out in the control of the party until after the governorship elections in
the state slated for November this year.