Okwu, not Umeh, is APGA chair, says court


maxi_okwuThe leadership comedy in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) continued on Wednesday as a Federal High Court in Awka, Anambra State vacated its earlier ex parte order restraining Chief Maxi Okwu from parading himself as the national chairman of the crisis-ridden party.

The vacation also affects Mr Egwuoyibo Okoye, who was also restored as the chairman of APGA in Anambra State.

Mr Charles Nwazojie obtained the order in the suit filed for himself and on behalf of the ward, local government areas and the state executive committees of the party against six defendants.

The defendants are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Inspector-General of Police, Anambra State Police Commissioner, APGA, Okwu and Okoye.

The court had on April 15 restrained Okwu and others from parading themselves as officials of the party.

Justice Mohammed Salihu held that every ex parte order had a life span of 14 days while the one in question had already lasted for 23 days.

While adjourning the matter sine die, Salihu, however, held that the ruling of the Court of Appeal in Enugu re-instating Chief Victor Umeh as the national chairman of the party subsisted.

He added that other pending applications would be determined after the decision of the Enugu High Court on June 25.

Counsel to Okwu and Okoye, Mr Chudi Obieze, had on Wednesday applied for the vacation of the order, arguing that it had outlived its legal lifespan.

Opposing the application, however, counsel to Nwazojie, Mr Ugonnna Ugwunnadi, contended that if the court vacated the order, it would amount to monumental embarrassment and judicial pettiness.

Ugwunnadi further urged the court to protect its order which he noted was in consonance with the ruling of the Court of Appeal in Enugu.

In his reaction, Chief Victor Umeh, accompanied by Alhaji Sani Shinkafi, expressed surprise that the ruling aroused the supporters of Okwu’s faction “even when the judge mentioned that the Appeal Court ruling subsists”.

“The Court of Appeal is a superior court and the order made by the superior court will continue to subsist and is binding on all the parties.

“You will also recall that INEC has taken its decision to recognise me as the national chairman of APGA, meaning that the leadership of the party remains firmly under my control,” Umeh said.

Also reacting on behalf of Okwu’s faction, the party’s Deputy National Chairman, South, Chief Chris Ejike-Uche, told newsmen that the vacation of the order showed that APGA was on solid ground.

“This vacation shows that our convention stands and we will now move on to restore sanity in the party.

“We have just one APGA and that is the known one headed by Maxi Okwu,” Ejike-Uche said.


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