Faction accused presidential adviser on inter-party affairs of unwarranted and unhealthy partisanship in party crisis.
A faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, has dissociated itself from the views reportedly presented on the party’s behalf by a former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, at the All Political Parties and Stakeholders’ Summit held in Abuja last week.
It also accused the Special Adviser to the President on Inter-Party Affairs, Ben Obi, of “unwarranted and unhealthy partisanship” in the crisis plaguing the party.
The faction led by Maxi Okwu stated this in a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan. The letter dated June 13 was signed by Mr. Okwu and the party’s National Secretary, Sagir Auwal.
The copies of the letter were also sent to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the National Security Adviser, and the Special Adviser to Mr. President on Inter-Party Affairs.
It said APGA was not invited to the summit in Abuja last week and that instead the former governor was invited to speak on the party’s behalf despite its faction’s recognition by the court as the authentic national executive.
“We are constrained to bring to your notice the unwarranted and unhealthy partisanship of Senator Ben Obi, your Special Adviser on Inter-Party Affairs in the ongoing leadership dispute in our party,”
it said in the letter to the president. “We did not receive any invitation to the All Political Parties and Stakeholders’ Summit held in Abuja on June 12, 2014. On inquiry with the Special Adviser Inter-Party Affairs we were informed that based on the advice of the Hon. Attorney General and Minister for Justice, APGA would not be invited.
“However, at the occasion to our chagrin Mr. Peter Obi, former Governor of Anambra, was recognised as a major stakeholder in APGA and requested to speak on behalf of APGA National Chairman. We concede that Mr. Peter Obi is indeed a major stakeholder of APGA, but he definitely is not the party. Secondly, he is hand in glove with his kinsman, our erstwhile National Chairman (Victor Umeh), in the contempt of court and disregard of the legal status quo in our party.”
The faction reminded the president that the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on January 15 delivered a concise and incisive judgment which declared that it was the authentic national executive of APGA.
It, however, stated that on January 18, the chairman of the rival faction, Mr. Umeh, and Mr. Obi convened a separate meeting of the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party.
“This was in total disregard and contempt of the judgment of the court on 15th January, 2014. The gathering purportedly returned Governor Obi as leader of the party and Chairman Board of Trustees. It is ironic that if not for the law courts Mr Peter Obi would have never been Governor of Anambra State. Again it was the law court that restored him after impeachment, and the law courts again on tenure interpretation saved him and gave him opportunity to go for a second term,” the faction said. “Mr. Obi did not have the mandate to speak for the national chairman at a meeting he was invited in his capacity as a former governor.”
It said it was worthy of note that when the organisers invited Mohammadu Buhari to speak on behalf of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as an officer and gentleman he declined, stating clearly that he was invited in his personal capacity and could not speak for his party APC.
The faction said, “In all these we see the deft hand of your Special Adviser on Inter-Party Affairs who incidentally is a close political/personal associate of Mr Peter Obi and Chief Victor Umeh.
They all hail from Anambra State and share many ties. We also recall that at the inauguration of Mr. Willie Obiano, on 17th March, 2014 as Governor, Senator Ben Obi who represented you at the occasion referred to Chief Victor Umeh as National Chairman of APGA. Your Excellency, we admit that there is an ongoing leadership dispute in our party, however the unassailable legal position is that there is a subsisting and final judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction stating that we are the authentic Executive.”
The faction also told Mr. Jonathan that the appeal filed by the Victor Umeh-led group on the January 15 judgement had been heard and that judgement had been reserved sine die.
It added that the appellant also filed three separate applications for stay of execution of the judgment of Justice Abdulkadir Abdu-Kafarati and either lost or withdrew all.
It said, “The judgment of 15th January, 2014 by the Federal High Court stands and must be obeyed by all persons and authority. If we truly believe in and practice the rule of law it would in our humble opinion be mischievous at the very least to disregard this legal situation until set aside by the Court of Appeal. We most humbly therefore urge your Excellency whom we are well aware is a believer in the rule of law to call your aide on Inter-Party Affairs to order.”