Court threatens to jail APGA factional national chairman, secretary

The Judge wants Victor Umeh and Sani Shinkafi to obey its January 15 ruling.

The Federal High Court in Abuja has threatened to commit the factional National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Victor Umeh, and National Secretary, Sani Shinkafi, to prison, if they flout its judgement on the court on the party’s leadership crisis.

The Court presided over by Justice Abdul Abdul-Kafarati, had on January 15 delivered a judgement in which it recognised Maxi Okwu-led National Working Committee, NWC, as the authentic leadership of the party.

Mr. Abdul-Kafarati, while delivering the judgment in the suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/563/13 instituted by Mr. Okwu and four others, held that Messrs Umeh and Shinkafi, having been expelled from the party, whether lawfully or unlawfully, could not continue to be the National Chairman and Secretary, when the suit they filed challenging their expulsion had not been decided in their favour.

The judge also said the election of the duo and other members of their faction’s NWC was faulty as they were elected into office by voice votes rather than secret ballot as stipulated in Article 18 (3) of the APGA Constitution.

He said Mr. Shinkafi, who was elected on January 10, 2003 could not continue to occupy the office as it was in violation of Article 18 (2) of the APGA Constitution, which specifies that the occupier should only spend two terms of four years each.

Mr. Abdul-Kafarati also directed the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to deal with Mr. Okwu-led NWC and all those they represented as the duly elected national officers of the party.

Although, Messrs. Umeh and Shinkafi immediately appealed the judgement and filed a stay of execution, they continued to perform their duties, hence the threat by the court to commit them to prison if they refused to obey its directive.

The court, in separate notices signed by its Registrar on Messrs Umeh and Shinkafi said, “Take notice that unless you obey the directives contained in this order you will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prisons.”

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