Umeh describes judgement as judicial rascality, files appeal
A Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday ordered the National Chairman and the National Secretary of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Victor Umeh and Sani Shinkafi, to vacate their offices.
The court presided by Justice Abdul Kafarati declared Maxi Okwu as the National Chairman of the party.
Mr. Okwu had instituted a suit last August against Messrs Umeh and Shinkafi asking the court to order them to vacate their offices. He accused them of staying beyond the tenure approved by the party’s constitution.
In the suit FHC/ABJ/CS/563/2103, Mr. Okwu contended that Mr. Umeh was not elected in accordance with Article 18 (4) of its constitution while Mr. Shinkafi had spent more than two terms of eight years required by the party’s constitution.
The section prescribes mandatorily that election into the party offices should be by secret ballot.
He also asked the court to direct the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to recognize him as the Chairman of APGA.
Delivering the judgement, Mr. Kafarati said that Mr. Okwu, the plaintiff, had the legal right to file the suit considering the affidavit he swore to in support of the originating summons.
Mr. Kafarati held that Messrs Umeh and Shinkafi, who were elected by voice votes instead of secret ballot as stipulated by the party’s constitution, were not validly elected.
He then ordered both the chairman and the national secretary to vacate their offices.
Reacting to the judgement, Mr. Umeh said it did not come to him as a surprise because it was supposed to have been delivered earlier and that it was aimed at ambushing APGA’s programmes.
He enjoined members of the party to disregard the judgement, describing it as a judicial rascality.
“Recall that it is the same judge that nullified Oyinlola’s election, the judgment which is a hatchet job arrived late as APGA has successfully prosecuted the Anambra Governorship and winning with a landslide and the just concluded local government elections.
“I enjoin our party men to disregard the judgment as this is clearly a judicial rascality,” he said.
“Justice Kafarati was gravely in error, so there is nothing to worry about, the convention has no foundation, and the said convention relied on by the court has been set aside by the Court of Appeal. We have an application for a stay, notice of appeal including. We are unruffled by the judgment because we know that the court of appeal will at all times protect its judgment.”
On his part, Mr. Shinkafi described the judgement as fraudulent and assured that the party would file an appeal against it.
He said every member had a duty to abide by the constitution of the party and that in any instance where the constitution was breached, the court would have jurisdiction to come in.
Meanwhile, Mr. Umeh has filed a notice of stay the execution of the judgement pending the hearing and determination of the Appeal filed at the Court of Appeal.
He also asked for an injunction restraining Mr. Okwu from interfering in the leadership and management of the party in any manner whatsoever.