Why we cannot act on the confusion in APGA – INEC

APGA national chairman
[Photo: www.thisdaylive.com]

Commission says it is yet to receive court papers reinstating former national chair.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has said it will not take any action on the confusion trailing the emergence of two national chairmen of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA; because it is yet to receive the ruling of the Court of Appeal, reinstating the party’s former National Chairman, Victor Umeh.

A convention held on Monday produced Maxi Okwu as the party’s chairman, the same day the Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu ordered a stay of execution on the Enugu High Court judgement which removed Mr. Umeh as chairman.

The Enugu High Court presided over by the State Chief judge, Innocent Umezulike, had in February removed Mr. Umeh and other members of the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party from office, citing constitutional breaches.

In response to the judgement, some members of the party moved swiftly to appoint Mr. Okwu as acting national chairman pending the convocation of an elective national convention, which subsequently held in Awka on Monday.

Mr. Okwu polled 790 votes to beat his only challenger, Joe-Martins Uzodike, who got 90 votes.

Other national officers elected to run the party for the next four years include Sigir Maidoya (National Secretary), Sadeeq Massala (National Vice Chairman, North), Chris Uche (National Vice Chairman, South), Elijah Onwuka (National Vice Chairman, South East) and Tijani Idris (National Vice Chairman, North West).

The two other factions of the party led by Mr. Umeh and the governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha stayed away from the convention, monitored by INEC.

Kayode Idowu, media aide to INEC Chairman told PREMIUM TIMES on Monday that the commission would not do or say anything on the confusion because it has not officially received the court’s ruling.

“There is nothing we can do at this stage and we will not say anything because we have not been served with the court papers on the ruling. When we get it then we will know what to do,” Mr. Idowu said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.

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Asked if INEC acted hastily by accepting to monitor the convention, Mr. Idowu merely retorted, “You want to preempt what the commission will do. I told you we have not received the papers and so we will not do anything until then.”

Attempts to reach Mr. Okwu on Tuesday failed as his mobile telephone was switched off.

Mr. Umeh refused to pick calls to his mobile telephone.

It was, however, gathered that both parties involved in the crisis have refused to shift ground with each group claiming control of the party which controls two of Nigeria’s 36 states- Anambra and Imo.

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