Okwu calls for end to litigation within party
Following Wednesday’s judgement by a Federal High Court in Abuja recognising Maxi Okwu as the authentic national chairman of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Mr. Okwu has extended an olive branch to his main rival, Victor Umeh.
Justice Abdul Kafarati of the Federal High Court Abuja on Wednesday delivered judgement on Suit No: FHC / ABJ/CS/563/2013 between Mr. Okwu and four others. The defendants were Mr. Umeh, his former deputy, Sani Shinkafi, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. The judge ruled that Mr. Okwu and not Mr. Umeh was the authentic chairman of APGA; a ruling Mr. Umeh has appealed.
Mr. Okwu in a statement on Friday said the judgement was another opportunity for the party to re-discover its soul and move forward.
“We give all glory and thanks to God Almighty for this opportunity. We do not claim victory and no one has been vanquished,” he said.
Mr. Okwu also called on members of the party to henceforth desist from unnecessary litigation, adding that no party could make progress through incessant, protracted, intra-party dissension and litigation.
“With this re-confirmation of our leadership, we shall reactivate with greater vigour our re-engineering and re-branding of APGA by completing in the first instance, the three Rs: rapprochement, reconciliation and re-integration of aggrieved members of our great party,” he said.
He also pledged that APGA would lead the third political force for the 2015 general election.
“Once again, as I have always done in each opportunity to extend an olive branch and a right hand of comradeship to our erstwhile National Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh. We are prepared to meet with him without pre-condition at Enugu where APGA was first launched at his convenience,” Mr. Okwu said.
APGA has been embroiled in one form of leadership crisis or the other for nearly ten years. At first, the crisis was between Mr. Umeh and Chekwas Okorie; both claimed leadership of the party and various law suits were instituted up to the Supreme Court, which recognised Mr. Umeh as the chairman of the party.
Mr. Okwu came to the fray when he instituted a lawsuit against Mr. Umeh and his executive officials, challenging their continued stay in office allegedly beyond what the constitution of the party provided.
Mr. Okwu approached the court August 19, 2013 seeking an order directing the officials to vacate their offices forthwith as according to him, they were not elected in accordance with Article 18 (4) of the constitution of the party, which prescribed that election into the offices shall be by secret ballot.
He also asked the court to grant an order directing INEC to recognise him as the national chairman of the party.