WITH the recognition given to the Chief Victor Umeh faction on Thursday by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the crisis rocking the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has deepened.
The Governor Peter Obi faction of the crisis-ridden APGA, led by Chief Maxi Okwu, briefly enjoyed recognition of the electoral umpire.
On Thursday, the Professor Attahiru Jega-led commission recognised Umeh as the national chairman through a letter.
The commission, which revertedto Umeh following the Court of Appeal ruling that stayed execution of the Enugu High Court that had earlier sacked him, said it would relate to Umeh as APGA chairman in obedience to the Court of Appeal ruling.
The letter, signed by its secretary, Abdullahi A. Kaugama, and addressed to Umeh as APGA national chairman reads: “The commission notes the ruling of the Court of Appeal which stayed execution of the order of the Enugu High Court that restrained Chief Sir Victor Umeh from parading himself as the National chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
“Consequently, the commission will continue to relate with Chief Sir Victor Umeh as the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).”
Addressing journalists yesterday at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja, Umeh commended INEC for obeying the decision of the court by reverting to his leadership of the party, and went further to stress that INEC’s recognition of his office as the national chairman has foreclosed the speculation that APGA is factionalised with two national chairmen.
“We patiently waited on INEC because we wrote them on the 15th of April, notifying it of the ruling of the Court of Appeal, Enugu Division that restored my leadership of the party. We are happy to inform you that INEC, having read the ruling of the Court of Appeal, has come out with a letter addressed to me, Chief Victor Umeh, recognising me as the national chairman of APGA. APGA does not have a factional national chairman, APGA does not have two national chairmen. APGA has only one national chairman recognised by the party constitution, INEC and the courts of Nigeria.
“With this decision and upholding of the rule of law, we want to say that this development has reinvigorated APGA. Those who want to do business with APGA now know the lawful authority of APGA. Anybody who is making any prevention anywhere in Nigeria in the name of APGA is deluding himself and any group of persons holding themselves out, claiming to be representing APGA or presenting themselves as members of APGA, engaging in decadent activities in the name of APGA are guilty of anti-party activities. They should stop destabilising this party.
“We want anybody who wants to be a member of APGA or who wants to do anything with APGA to subject himself or herself to this lawful leadership of APGA.”
He also said that APGA is not into any form of merger, but stressed that APGA will go into alliance with any other political party if there be need for such.
“APGA has never had two positions on merger. From this office, I have addressed Nigerians categorically that our party has never been part of any merger discussion in Nigeria and we started sounding this since last year, that position has not changed up till this moment, APGA will never merge with any political party. But we will continue to state that our party will be available for alliance discussion with other political parties at anytime it is necessary.
“I, as a person, do not support merger. Even Governor Rochas Okorocha who has been dragging APGA name in this direction cannot pretend not to be aware that I advised severally privately against it for over three months before he went to make a public statement on that.”