Court Sacks APGA Chairman Victor Umeh, Other Leaders
The leadership of the crisis ridden All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA including the party’s national chairman, Victor Umeh was today sacked by an Enugu High Court presided over by the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Innocent Umezuluike who declared the February 10th, 2011 election that gave Umeh and other members of the National Executive Council a second term tenure illegal, stressing that their re-election did not comply with article 18 of the party’s constitution.
The judgement followed an action filed by an APGA member, Okuli Jude Ejike who contested that the 2011 re-election of Umeh and his National Working Committee at the party’s national convention in Awka Anambra State was unconstitutional and should be declared null and void.
Umeh has however described the ruling as a pre-determined judgement from a confused judge. In his words: “this conclusion he reached today is one he actually reached before he commenced trial in this matter. Going by the orders he made it is very clear that he is confused in his judgment. He voided the convention of APGA that held on February 10, 2011 and sacked the entire executive elected with me because the election was declared a nullity.
“And he turned around to make an order that the NEC of APGA is bound to meet to elect national officers of the party; it shows that he did not read the constitution of APGA. First of all of you remove the entire NEC; he has practically left the party without any leadership; so who is going to convene that meeting will elect officers of the party.
“There was a prayer in the originating summons which he avoided and went into rhetorics; the plaintiff asked for an order that congresses shall commence from the wards, local governments, state and to national convention to elect officers of the party; he did not make any pronouncements on that prayer knowing that there is no way he can validly make such order.
“Also, the national convention which he voided elected 29 national committee members of APGA; the plaintiff sued only me, who was elected national chairman; if he was challenging my election through that convention he was bound to join all those elected by the convention but he didn’t do so; that is why we have said that the suit before him was incompetent; necessary parties were not joined.
“So the orders he made cannot be sustained on appeal; it clearly shows that he is desperately on a manhunt for the national chairman of APGA without thinking of the damage his pronouncements against me will do to the party. We have no confidence in the judgment and we are not moved; we knew that was what he was going to say; in-fact for two weeks now, exactly all he read out were the orders the people at Government House Awka were telling people he was going to make.
“We are very happy to be out of his court; he has finished his business on this matter and the consolation is that there are two higher courts, the Appeal and the Supreme Court; until these courts adjudicate on this matter there is nobody who will step in as chairman of APGA. So nothing has been lost.
“At a point when he started mishandling this matter I petitioned to the National Judicial Council (NJC) who in turn queried him; he replied to the query on November 7, 2012; the CJN sent to me his reply and asked me to make further reaction; and I will tell you that we have comprehensively reviewed his reply; he completely evaded all the allegations against him.
“Remember that we even asked him to re-assign the case and also filed a motion for him to disqualify himself from the matter based on bias; he refused to say things about his actions in the judgment today; why he did not disqualify himself or re-assign the matter. So I don’t see how the matter has closed; the important thing to me is that we are out of Umezuluike’s court.
“So I will go on appeal; put a stay on the execution of this judgment until the court of appeal reviews it; I also have right of further appeal to the Supreme Court. So the sponsors of this have nothing to celebrate. I urge my members to remain calm.”
“By sacking the National Working Committee of APGA that was elected at the National Convention of 10th February 2011 which the court declared null and void, Justice Umezulike has completely decapitated APGA and left it without a leadership. This is like removing the head of a trailer and the body of the trailer can no longer move.
“By this his judgement, there is no organ of the party left to execute the orders he made, therefore the orders are in vain. Nobody including Governor Peter Obi, the sponsor of this suit can derive any benefit from the judgment until the matter is determined at the two levels of appeal available; Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.
“Umezulike’s mishandling of this case is still being handled by the National Judicial Council which forwarded to me Umezulike’s reply to my petition last month for my further reaction which I submitted to the Chairman of NJC on February 5, 2011.”
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