APGA crisis: Court stops UmehAll People Grand Alliance (APGA), Party Politics Friday, July 27th, 2012
By: PETRUS OBI, Enugu
Thu, 07/26/2012 – 23:30
An Enugu State High Court yesterday, granted an interim injunction restraining the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh, from convening a national, state, or local government executive committee meeting of the party. The court, presided over by the Chief Judge of the state, Mr. Justice Innocent Umezulike (OFR), also restrained Umeh from expelling any member of APGA, pending the hearing and determination of a motion on notice fixed for hearing on July 31, 2012.
It ordered that a substituted service of all originating processes in the suit be served on the defendant/respondent by pasting it on the entrance door of the compound of the defendant’s house situated at No.2, Gerrald Street, Ekulu East Quarters by Ogui Junction, Enugu within the jurisdiction of the court.
A former chairman of Udi Local Government Chapter of APGA, Ichie Jude Okoli, had approached the court complaining that the action of Umeh “were capable of drowning the aspirations of the party and some of its members including himself; and that the actions would cause irreparable damage to the party.”
Okoli’s motion was supported with a 22-paragraph affidavit. In it, he recalled that Umeh was the national treasurer of the party who assumed office as the national chairman in 2006 for a four-year term following the removal of Chief Chekwas Okorie and that by the virtue of the constitution of APGA, the four-year term expired in 2010.
He averred that the constitution equally provided that a national convention to be convoked for the purpose of electing new officers for the party in the National Executive Committee, State Executive Committee and Local Government Executive Committee after the expiration of four years.
He stated that despite the expiration of the tenure of Umeh in 2010, he had continued in office without any valid national convention till date and believed that his entire actions since 2010 were illegal and ultra vires the constitution of the party and had the tendency of escalating into serious political quagmire unless restrained by the court.
He maintained further that Umeh was only interested in perpetuating himself in office and deliberately, contrary to the constitution, refused to listen to other prominent members of the party who had requested that he convened a national convention and had illegally continued receiving grants meant for the party from INEC, without rendering account to anybody.
The plaintiff is seeking a declaration, among other things, that Umeh, by true construction of Article 18 (2), (3), (4) and (5) was supposed to vacate office for at least two months before re-election. “That he could not validly be re-elected by any method other than secret ballot; that having taken over as Chairman, that Umeh could not stay on after 2010 and that he could not summon NEC meeting of the party after his tenure expired in 2010.”
He stated that by asking for the order of injunction, he has not done anything reprehensible in respect of the matter and it was in the interest of justice to grant the injunctive relief and maintain status quo ante bellum following the expiration of the defendant’s tenure, until the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
The court adjoined the case to July 31 and ordered accelerated hearing of all pending applications.
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