By Favour Goodness
The Supreme Court judgment of Thursday has not abated the leadership crisis of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) with three different factions, Victor Oye, Jude Okeke, and Edozie Njoku still laying claim to the party’s national chairmanship position.
Oye is supporting former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Prof. Chukuma Soludo as the party’s candidate for the Nov. 6 Governorship election in Anambra state, while Jude Okeke and Edozie Njoku are backing Chukwuma Umeoji and perhaps Nicholas Ukachukwu respectively as rival candidates.
The Supreme Court judgment delivered by the lead judge, Justice Mary Odili dismissed the suit and upheld the Court of Appeal, Kano judgment delivered Aug. 10, affirming Oye as the National Chairman of APGA.
Delivering the judgment, Odili also dismissed the trial court, declaring that the judgment was a Forum Shopping.
Jubilation has greeted the Supreme Court judgment in the camps of Oye, while Okeke and Njoku, are still laying claim to the plump position.
In his reaction, the National Publicity Secretary of APGA, loyal to Okeke, Barrister Ikechukwu Chukwunyere argued that the Supreme Court did not nullify his Okeke’s chairmanship position, but only nullified the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Kano on the ground that the court has no ground to dabble into political leadership.
According to him, neither the Supreme Court nor the Court of Appeal, Kano declared Oye as the National Chairman of the party.
He argued that the Court of Appeal, Kano did not make Chief Okeke, the National Chairman, adding that the Supreme Court did not nullify the NEC meeting decision that appointed Okeke as the Chairman of APGA.
He said: “That the removal of Edozie Njoku from office by NEC of our Party still remains valid as this issue of his removal was never decided by the Court and still remains unchallenged.,”
On his part, the camp of Njoku that was joined by the Supreme Court as an interested party, is also laying claim that Njoku remains the authentic National Chairman of APGA.
Their position that the Jigawa state High Court judgment which declared Okeke as the National Chairman, which the Supreme Court dismissed, was about a case instituted against his faction rather than Oye.
Njoku further revealed that Oye was not a party to the judgment of the Jigawa of High court, Jigawa, arguing that Okeke dragged him to court and got an order removing him as the National chairman of APGA and went to Jigawa to legalize his action, adding that the Supreme Court verdict has vindicated him.
According to him, with the present position, the Justice A.R. Mohammed-led Federal High Court Abuja which was mandated to conclude his application for the Order of Mandamus against Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) seeking to recognize him as the authentic National Chairman, can now move ahead and conclude the matter.
Edozie noted that the judgment made it clear to the parties to return to the status quo, an interpretation he contended recognizes him as the authentic National Chairman, pending the completion of action compelling INEC to recognize him.
The controversy generated by the Supreme Court judgment, has therefore, compelled the three gladiators to develop an option, especially as it has to do with INEC’s earlier pronouncement that it did not monitor APGA primary.
In this regard, it was gathered that the plan option of the rival leaderships of APGA is adopting is to forge an alliance with ADC, seeibg APGA support the ADC candidate, Akachukwu Nwankpo, on either 60:40 ratio formula or 50:50 equitable share of appointive and elective positions.
It was learnt that the option for ADC is because it is being considered as a virgin party that did not have grassroot political base which can accommodate the interests of APGA faithful at the ward, local and state levels respectively in an ADC government, if elected.
An insider in APGA who craved anonymity confirmed the move, pointing out that the consideration of Akachukwu Nwamkpo on ADC’s platform is to ease a moral burden that has been tearing APGA apart and use the alternative bid to identify with ADC seen as the third force and point of unity among the three factions.
The source continued: “APGA appears to want to redeem its image by associating with ADC, a party formed and sponsored by the former APGA founder, Chief Ralphs Okey Nwosu, who was seemingly robbed in 2002 Governorship Primary won by new entrant, Peter Obi, who eventually became the governor.
Continuing he said: “Nwosu has not been compensated, awarded contract and given party patronage as one of the founders and major sponsor of APGA from the onset. Governor Willie Obiano was foisted on APGA, so he does not know the antecedents of APGA and the party’s benefactors.
Gov. Willie Obiano is said to have bought into the option lately after he was fully informed about contributions and ordeal of the co-founder and sponsor of APGA and now National Chairman of ADC, Chief Ralphs Okey Nwosu.
According to the source, “these wrongs meted to Nwosu and Nwankpo appear to be weighing or holding APGA down which sees the ADC as part of its cleansings.”