By Charles Onyekwere:
All is not well within the camp of the All Progressives Party, APGA, as they prepare for the November governorship election in Anambra State in the South-East geopolitical zone of the country. This is because the lingering leadership tussle bedeviling the party may derail the ruling party in the state from conducting a unified primary that can produce its candidate for the Anambra governorship election fixed for November 18.
Following legal battle engulfing the party, DAILY ASSET findings revealed that the two APGA factions are not shifting their grounds on the national chairmanship conflict, thus paving the way for the ensuing legal battle to be dragged up to the apex court- the Supreme Court.
As the conflicting judgments persist, there are strong indications that the battle lines were drawn within the week when Chief Martins Agbaso, the protagonist and leader of the Agbaso faction of APGA declared in a media interview that it would conduct its primary on August 17,2017 and that the contest was open to all members of the party. According to him:
“Anybody that is in APGA that is interested in contesting is welcome. Everybody, every human being irrespective of his standing in the society, the size of his wallet, whatever you are, you must be subjected to primaries. We are going to have open primaries and ensure internal democracy .”
He added:“It was a strong statement and clear signal that its ticket was not reserved for Governor Willie Obiano, who is desperately seeking a second term.”Nobody has any assurance in anything. If he is interested in re-contesting, he must submit himself to all the processes of election milestones”.
Governor Willie Obiano’s camp , on the other hand, is being led by Chief Victor Oye who exclusively told DAILY ASSET that they were not losing sleep over the Agbaso- led group’s activities and that it would soon come up with suitable date for its own version of the primary where Obiano is expected to emerge as the flag-bearer.
For APGA in Anambra state, Barrister Tony Ifeanya, insisted that the Oye group was not perturbed by the court judgment of Enugu High court which Agbaso- led camp is banking on for their latest activities.
Continuing, he stated that the court decision was only binding on the Independent National Electoral commission (INEC); the Inspector General of the Nigerian Police (IGP) and Enugu state police commissioner.
According to him, ”They did not ask for an order to stop Oye from conducting a primary for APGA. Their order of mandamus was merely to compel INEC and the police to recognise Agbaso as the Acting National chairman of the party.
Ifeanya further revealed that the Oye- led group had already moved to counter the order of mandamus from the Enugu state high court by taken the matter to the Appeal court in Enugu.
DAILY ASSET was informed that following a breakdown in reconciliation efforts as a result of Obiano’s refusal to accept Agbaso conditions, i,the Victor Oye’s group step out for another plan which was to get a concurrent court judgment.
As the crisis persists,Oye’s camp eventually obtained the much needed reprieve from an Nnewi High Court presided over by Justice Chukwudi Okaa. In the judgment delivered on July 18 Justice Okaa barred the Agbaso group from holding the party’s primary. The motion was filed by Victor Oye and 21 other APGA chieftains on behalf of Governor, Willie Obiano.
DAILY ASSET recalls that an Enugu state High court presided over by justice A.R. Ozoemena on May 22,2017 granted an order of mandamus, compelling INEC and police to abide by the decision of APGA in recognising Chief Martins Agbaso as the Acting National Chairman of the party instead of Oye.
In line with the order of mandamus, Agbaso conveyed his letter to conduct the August 17th,2017 to the electoral body, informing the commission of their planned primaries for the November 18th Anambra gubernatorial polls, as well as the appeal court ruling affirming the order of mandamus given by the Enugu state high court in their favour.
DAILY ASSET’s findings revealed however, that Justice Okaa, while granting Oye’s application, restrained INEC, Chief Okechukwu Nkoloagu, Chief Jerry Obasi and Comrade Chuks Nwogu as defendants, their agents, privies or otherwise, from taking any steps towards organising, conducting or holding any congress or primary election in the name of APGA, for selecting or nominating of governorship candidate for Anambra 2017 election, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive motion on notice it adjourned to Monday,july 24th,2017.
Meanwhile, the embattled National Chairman of the party, Chief Victor Oye has described as fallacy the claim by Chief Martin Agbaso that there is a Court of Appeal order against him. DAILY ASSET recalls that on July 28,2017, that Justice Dennis .C. Maduechesi of Awka High Court delivered judgment against Agbaso by declaring Chief Victor Oye the authentic National Chairman of APGA.That was not all.
Also, on the same day at the Nnewi High Court, Justice Chukwudi .C. Okaa issued an interlocutory injunction restraining Agbaso and four others from organising, conducting or holding any congress in the name of APGA and for the purpose of selecting or nominating any gubernatorial candidate of APGA for the forthcoming 2017 Anambra state governorship election.
But reacting to the decision of the High courts, Agbaso told journalists that there was a Court of Appeal order against Oye, which he said rendered the verdicts of the lower courts meaningless.
To counter Agbaso’s claim, Oye issued a press statement debunking Agbaso’s claim as fallacy. The APGA factional chairman stated that there was no order of any court of appeal against him, describing Agbaso’s claim as “wishful thinking”
“The true position is that the order of mandamus which Agbaso obtain through fraudulent meaTo counter Agbaso’s claim, Oye issued a press statement debunking Agbaso’s claim as fallacy. The APGA factional chairman stated that there was no order of any court of appeal against him, describing Agbaso’s claim as “wishful thinking”
“The true position is that the order of mandamus which Agbaso obtained through fraudulent means at the Enugu State High Court is being challenge d at the Court of Appeal in Enugu” said Chief Oye. The factional APGA Chairman enumerated the grounds on which his party filed the case against Agbaso at the Court of Appeal. He said that both the police and the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) were not served any court processes in the case and neither were they represented, and therefore submitting that the plaintiffs had no locus to sue.Oye further argued that commencement of trial by motion on notice, by which Chief Agbaso got a judgment at the Enugu State High Court was unknown to law. While advising Chief Martin Agbaso, in his best interest, to turn his attention to more fruitful endeavours.