The national chairman of APGA accuses his predecessor of disregard for court process.
A factional National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Maxi Okwu, says the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, cannot unilaterally set aside the outcome of its April 8 national convention because the commission approved and monitored the event.
Mr. Okwu also urged the commission to ignore the request by his challenger to the office, Victor Umeh, that the convention should be set aside, accusing him of disrespect for court process.
Mr. Umeh had, in a letter dated April 15, asked INEC to set aside convention, citing the suit in court challenging its convocation, as his reason.
However, in a letter to INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega, on Wednesday, Mr. Okwu argued that the commission’s hands are tied because it did not only monitor the convention in Awka, the Anambra State capital, in pursuant to Section 85 of the Electoral Act, but also a party in the suits instituted by the two factions of APGA.
“Chief Victor Umeh has through his surrogates sued INEC on the party’s National Convention in Awka. He cannot at the same time speak from both sides of his mouth by addressing a petition to the commission on the same issue,” Mr. Okwu argued.
“I, therefore, urge you to totally ignore and disregard Umeh as the commission’s hand is now strongly tied in the matter. It is trite that INEC cannot unilaterally set aside the outcome of the party’s National Convention it duly monitored vide a letter dated 15thApril 2013, reference number INEC/DPPM&L/APGA/003/T/87, signed by Secretary to the Commission, Abdullahi A. Kaugama.
“I humbly submit that until a court of competent jurisdiction sets aside the National Convention, INEC is bound to uphold the results of the elections and resolutions adopted.”
The APGA chairman said that, as a responsible citizen, he obeyed a court order restraining him and members of his National Working Committee, NWC, from parading themselves as national officers of the party.
He, however, urged INEC to continue to recognize the NWC members as duly elected until the determination of the suit filed by Mr. Umeh.
He said, “I am the fifth defendant in suit No FHC/AWK/CS/88/2013 between Charles Nwazojie & ors and Independent National Electoral Commission & 5 ors wherein Hon. Justice M.T. Salihu issued an exparte order on 15th April 2013.
“In that suit the court on an ex-parte motion on filed on 15th April 2013, inter alia on the same day restrained my humble self and other officers elected along with me at the said National Convention from parading ourselves in the offices we were duly elected.
“As a responsible and law abiding citizen, I have complied with the ex-parte order of the Federal High Court Awka and kept a low profile until the order is vacated or expires with the affluxion of two weeks.
“I urge your Commission to continue to recognize and uphold the APGA National Convention pending a final determination by court of competent jurisdiction on the matter as has been your practice.”
He accused Mr. Umeh of having no respect for the court, the rule of law and APGA Constitution except for his own use.
According to Mr. Okwu, when the Enugu High Court, in February, restrained Mr. Umeh from parading himself as the party’s National chairman, he (Umeh) lambasted the judge who gave the order and even petitioned the Inspector General of Police.
He advised Mr. Umeh to await the outcome of the matter in Court so as not to overreach the court as INEC is the first defendant in the suit.
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