Court to rule on APGA leadership crisis March 15

The battle between Messrs Umeh and Okwu for the chairmanship seat continues.

Justice Abdulkadir Abdul-Kafarati of the Federal High Court Abuja, on Wednesday adjourned ruling to March 15 in the application filed by the factional National Chairman, Victor Umeh, and National Secretary, Sani Shinkafi of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, for stay of execution of the judgement that removed them from office.

The duo had approached the court seeking a stay of execution of its January 15 judgement and an injunction restraining another factional chairman, Maxi Okwu, and all officers elected with him at the April 8, 2013 APGA Convention from assuming office pending the determination of their suit at the Court of Appeal.

Mr. Abdul-Kafarati recognized Mr. Okwu and other members of the National Working Committee, NWC, elected in 2013 as the authentic leadership of the party.

However, in a motion filed by their lawyer, Patrick Ikwueto, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Messrs Umeh and Shinkafi asked for stay of execution because there was a suit before the Court of Appeal on the leadership crisis between them and a member of the party, Okuli Ejike.

On Wednesday, Mr. Ikwueto urged the court to grant the application. He argued that somebody who lost litigation was entitled to approach the court to make a preservative order.

He urged the court to grant an order maintaining status quo pending the determination of the appeal already filed.

Mr. Ikwueto argued that the Court of Appeal had earlier declared Mr. Umeh as the party chairman and that the High Court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter.

However, Oba Maduabuchi, lawyer for Mr. Okwu and all the officers elected with him, opposed the application for stay of execution of the judgment and an injunction restraining the Okwu leadership from running the affairs of the party. He therefore urged the court to strike out the application.

Mr. Maduabuchi averred that the court could not give judgment on one hand and collect it back with another hand, stating that the applicants (Umeh and Shinkafi) had not shown any special circumstance that would warrant the court to grant stay of execution.

He urged the court to strike out the application, emphasizing that it had found that Messrs. Umeh and Shinkafi were wrong to have occupied the positions of National Chairman and Secretary and would not allow illegality because they appealed the judgment that sacked them.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, was represented in court by its counsel, Olawale Daudu.

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