National chairman of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Edozie Njoku has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to accord him full recognition, following the judgement of the Supreme Court on the party’s leadership tussle.
Njoku who petitioned the Supreme Court to revisit what he called “the error” it its earlier ruling on the matter, noted that apex court did the needful on May 9 this year, lamenting however, that that INEC is yet to obey the judgment 34 days after it was given.
In a letter addressed to the chairman of the commission and copied President Muhammadu Buhari, Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila among others, Njoku wondered why the electoral umpire appears reluctant to obey the judgment of the highest court in the land.
Titled, “Ignoring Supreme Court Judgment: A threat to democracy,” Njoku stated: “Prior to the Anambra governorship election, the two APGA factions under the leadership of Dr. Victor Ike Oye and myself were locked in keen competition, as to who was the authentic National Chairman of APGA, and which Convention of the two factions conducted in Owerri and in Awka was legitimate.
“However, before any of us could submit names of candidates to INEC, Chief Jude Okeke rushed to Birnin Kudu in Jigawa State and filed a suit, in Suit No: JDU/022/2021. The suit was between Alhaji Garba Aliyu and Chief Jude Okeke and two others.
“Clearly, the Jigawa judgement affirmed the Owerri Convention and my suspension as National Chairman of APGA. Instantly, INEC obeyed the Jigawa Judgement declaring Jude Okeke as the National Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). Kindly note that Chief Victor Oye was neither a party to the suit nor was he mentioned in the entire matter.
“Surprisingly, at the Kano Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, the APGA leadership tussle was erroneously resolved in favour of Dr. Victor Ike Oye on October 14, 2021. In less than 24 hours, in total reverence to the Supreme Court Judgement, INEC replaced Jude Okeke’s name with that of Dr. Victor Ike Oye as the rightful National Chairman of APGA.
“Seven months later, our legal team discovered that Oye’s name was wrongly inserted where Njoku’s name ought to have been. On May 6, 2022, APGA as a Party called the attention of the Supreme Court to this fundamental error through a letter to Hon. Justice Mary Peter- Odili and other four Justices on that panel; requesting the Justices of the Panel to revisit the matter in line with the extant law.
“The Supreme Court Panel headed by Justice Mary Peter Odili committed time and energy to understudy the case and afterwards, the lead Judgement containing the error was rectified on May 9, 2022.
“Sir, for the purposes of clarity, Order 8 Rule 16 of the Supreme Court of Nigeria states: ‘the Supreme Court can Suo Motu or by a letter (application), review any judgment once given and delivered by it save to correct any clerical mistake or some error arising from any accidental slip or omission, or to vary the judgment or order so as to give effect to its meaning or intention’. This was what the Supreme Court relied on in this instance.”
The letter further read: “Now that the Supreme Court Judgement is in my favour, INEC has continued to prevaricate for over 34 ( Thirty Four Days now)! This is very unfortunate and seriously worrisome as it is a great threat to Nigerian democracy and rule of law! It is very insensitive and a very terrible precedence for your office to fail to or continue to delay the implementation of the judgement of Nigeria Supreme Court.
“Honourable Chairman, in spite of the two letters that we have written to your office requesting the Commission’s compliance with the said Supreme Court judgement, thirty four days (34) has gone and the Commission has continued to play a very dangerous and debilitative mind game on a matter that bothers on the survival or otherwise of the Party.
“I am as curious as any other Nigerian as to why it has taken this long for a Supreme Court judgment to be obeyed. It has never taken this long for the Commission to acknowledge Court judgements, considering the fact this is the same Suit that gave Jude Okeke the National Chairmanship of APGA at the Lower Court, which was swiftly complied with by INEC. When the Supreme Court erroneously gave Oye victory, INEC still obliged him.
“Few days ago, INEC resolved the issue of who is the authentic Presidential candidate of Labour Party. We are not unaware of the pressures and sensations that the APGA leadership tussle has attracted, but, doing the right thing would be walking the path less traveled by many and that would make all the difference.
“Permit me to digress a bit. Our journey in APGA since 2019, was simply to infuse and advance discipline and mainstream the APGA ideology which maintains that political parties are platforms for people to converge, congregate, ventilate and actualize their dreams of how they want their country to be; it is not a platform for primordial, parochial and ulterior pursuits.
“Finally, given your sterling performance and legacies in INEC, it is instructive to state that ‘the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stand in moments of comfort and convenience. Rather, where he stand in moments of challenge and controversy.’
“As posterity beckons, we look forward to your office’s immediate formal recognition as the lawful leadership of APGA in line with the extant laws upon which INEC was created and the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended.”
Ahead 2027: Pro-Tinubu Group Sets Up Structures In APC
The Mandate Movement (TMM), a pro-President Bola Tinubu group in the All Progressives Congress (APC), has set up 37 structures in a bid to enlarge its membership base across the country.
The structures consist of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
The national leader of the movement, Cardinal James Odunmbaku, made this known in a statement, explaining that the move became necessary for the ease of administration.
Cardinal Odunmbaku, in the statement, noted that this move was a precursor to the preparations for the 2027 general election.
He stressed that the move aims at ensuring that the APC has strong dominance across communities and towns in every part of the country.
He advised those to be appointed as state coordinators to be more effective in mobilising new people into the ruling APC.
The APC chieftain also used the opportunity to appeal to Nigerians to be patient with the President Bola Tinubu’s administration, assuring that the government was taking steps to address the harsh economic challenges.
Benue APC Crisis: Court Sacks Acting State Chairman
The recently suspended Benue State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Austin Agada, has been reinstated by a Makurdi High Court presided over by the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Maurice Ikpambese.
Recall that Mr Agada was earlier in the month suspended from office by another Benue High Court in Aliade presided over by Justice Lilian Tsumba following an ex parte motion filed by Mr Moses Agaba against him and the APC after his Ihaje Ward I Executive in Ogbadibo Local Government Area had passed a no-confidence vote on him and also suspended him for alleged anti-party activity.
The suspension was immediately followed by the inauguration of Mr. Benjamin Omakolo from Igoro Ward, Apa LGA as the acting State Chairman during a State Executive Committee meeting of the party presided over by Governor Hyacinth Alia.
However the crisis in the party took a dramatic turn Monday when Justice Ikpambese reinstated Mr. Agada while ruling on a motion by the embattled chairman seeking to set aside the interim order restraining him from parading himself as Chairman.
After listening to the arguments of counsel to Moses Agaba, Mr. Johnson Usman, and that of Innocent Daagba, who appeared alongside Richard Ayilla, George Ushongo, Daniel Sorkaa and John Ifer who appeared for Mr. Agada, Justice Maurice Ikpambese vacated the order restraining him from parading self, function and acting as the Chairman of the APC in the State.
Justice Ikpambese ruled that “under Order 39, rule 3 of the Benue State High Court Procedure Rules, 2023, the lifespan of an interim order is seven days, and since the order was issued on February 2, 2024, it has elapsed by law.”
Justice Ikpambese nullified the appointment of Benjamin Omakolo as acting Chairman and any other appointment made from February 2, 2024.
He accordingly struck out the motion seeking to set aside the interim order of February 2, 2024, as “it has been overtaken by events.”
The matter would be assigned to another Judge by the Chief Judge who would hear it on its merit.
Reacting, the APC State acting Chairman, Mr. Omakolo dismissed the reinstatement of Mr. Agada saying “whether the order restraining him (Agada) from parading himself as the Chairman is vacated or not, the fact that he has been suspended by his Ward still places a ban on him to be able to function as APC Chairman in Benue State. “And it will interest you to know that in the court ruling today, no matter concerning my person or role as the acting Chairman was mentioned.
“So, I still remain the valid acting State chairman of the APC in Benue State. I remain the one who pilots the affairs of the APC in Benue State and the APC family takes instructions and directives from my office as the acting Chairman of APC in the State.
“And even that wrong vacation that was done in the High Court has already been appealed. The person that took him to court has appealed the judgement because it is not correct in law for a High Court to restrain another High Court, a court of coordinate jurisdiction. I have long assumed office as the acting Chairman of APC in Benue State.”
There’s No Changing Bayelsa Gov’ship Result – Diri
Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, has said that the November 11, 2023, governorship election in the State has been won and lost and cannot be changed through subterranean moves of his main rival in the poll.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the incumbent governor winner of the election and presented certificates of return to him and the deputy governor-elect, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, on November 17, 2023.
Diri, who spoke on Monday during the first year memorial service of his late father, Pa Abraham Diri, at the St Peter’s Anglican Church, Sampou, Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area, said the subpoena to the police to testify as witness at the election petition tribunal by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva, was diversionary, a waste of time and an exercise in futility.
He said the acceptable standard was the election result declared by INEC and not that of the police.
His words, “they are bringing a police report. They are bringing a police commissioner to come and testify in the election tribunal. We have crossed that bridge long ago. Just as we stopped them from rigging, we will stop them again.
“If you want to subpoena anybody, let it be INEC, which conducted the election and declared the results. The police are in charge of security.
“Let us be steadfast. Our second tenure will be better than the first.”
The governor eulogised his father for laying a solid foundation for him and his siblings.
According to him, his father was being celebrated a year after his death because he left good legacies that were speaking through him and his siblings.
He said: “His impact upon our lives, his children and relatives, is unspeakable. That is why I believe in giving the best education to children, so that whether you are alive or not, they can stand anywhere. I urge fellow Bayelsans to give their children good education.
“What we are doing today is to appreciate God and celebrate the life of our father for what he has done in our lives. Our father guided us very well. All his life was how to discipline and give what he had to society.
“Those of us in leadership as president, governors, Speakers and other positions, let us know that there is a legacy we should leave, which will speak for us when we leave this world.”
Speaking on the topic: “What will you be remembered for?” Rev. Funkuro Amgbare, Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Izon of the Anglican Communion, noted that Pa Diri was being remembered a year after his death because he impacted positively on his children and the society.
He admonished all to live a life worth remembering by maintaining their integrity.
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