Justice Abdulkadir Abdul-kafarati of the Federal High Court Abuja has fixed 7th February 2014, for judgment in the All Progressives Grand Alliance leadership dispute between Chief Maxi Okwu and Chief Victor Umeh.
Okwu instituted Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/563/2013 on 19th August 2013, against Victor Umeh, Sani Shinkafi and INEC seeking a Court order directing the second defendant (Shinkafi) to vacate office as National Secretary of the Party having been first elected into office on 10th January 2003, and was re-elected for a second tenure which expired on 9th January 2010.
An order directing the first and second defendants and all officers they represent to vacate their offices forthwith not having been elected in accordance with Article 18(4) of the Constitution of the Party which prescribes mandatorily that election into the offices shall be by secret ballot, and order directing INEC to deal with Maxi Okwu’s leadership of APGA.
Justice Abdul-kafarati had earlier granted accelerated hearing and directed that the preliminary objection and the substantive matter would be heard together to enable the court decide on the Party’s leadership dispute.
Chief Umeh’s lawyer, Patrick Ikwueto SAN urged the court to dismiss the suit for lack of jurisdiction. He also told the court that three plaintiffs Ibrahim Carefor, Gbenga Afeni and Abubakar Adamu had withdrawn from the suit, leaving Okwu and Dickson Ogu as plaintiffs.
Okwu’s lawyer, Oba Maduabuchi opposed the preliminary objection and urged the court to uphold that Sani Shinkafi’s tenure as National Secretary had since expired having been elected to the position on 10th January 2003. He also urged the court to grant an order directing all the APGA officers purportedly to have been elected with Chief Victor Umeh in February 2011 national convention to vacate their offices as their election was inconsistent with Article 18(4) of the party Constitution which prescribed that elections into various officers shall be by secret ballot.
Maduabuchi urged the Court to direct INEC to recognize and deal with the Okwu leadership of the party.
Both Okwu and Umeh lawyers adopted their written addresses. INEC lawyer Ike Obuogu adopted the legal argument of Umeh’s lawyer, Ikwueto SAN.
Justice Abdul-kafarati fixed 7th February 2014, for judgment.
Senior Media Assistant to chief Maxi Okwu,
National Chairman, APGA.