APGA’s rebirth: Sifting facts from fiction — special attention to Victor Oye & his co-travellers
In the recent past, the media has been awash with misguided, but delusional claims and masturbatory publications against Chief Edozie Njoku, the National Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Intriguingly, the ignoble campaign of calumny and distortion of facts is being led by Oye’s protégés. Prominent among them is Barr. Sly Ezeokenwa who often claim that Chief Edozie Njoku is not an APGA member.
We have therefore decided to seize this opportunity to educate Oye and his co-travellers and properly inform Nigerians about the salient facts as regards the true position of things in our great party, APGA.
Moreover, having in mind the timeworn dictum that facts are sacred and stubborn, this piece would help to dissuade simple minds from falling prey to the usual shenanigans of the erstwhile national chairman of APGA.
In the first instance, let us note from the outset that it is naïve and primitive for Oye and his co travellers to allege that Chief Edozie Njoku is not a member of APGA. That is the usual route Oye and Co take whenever they arrive at the crucial juncture, where facts and law intersect.
Not being a foundation member of APGA, Oye continued the false narrative of exclusion that has diminished the party from its full stature as an ideologically oriented political movement. Based on that convenient lie, Oye found it easy to claim that Chief Edozie Njoku is a factional leader of APGA.
It is an indubitable fact that right from 2002 Chief Edozie Njoku is among the founding members of APGA, who know where the dead bones of mischief and malicious perfidy that defined APGA’s stunted growth are buried.
Chief Edozie Njoku had also contested for the Onitsha North and South Federal Constituency seat when Chief Ezeokenwa, who is incidentally Barr. Sly Ezeokenwa’s father was chairman of Onitsha South Local Government Area chapter of APGA.
Chief Ezeokenwa, who is a friend of Chief Njoku, actually handled and disbursed logistics and funds on behalf of Chief Edozie Njoku in the said election.
Oye and co should ask questions or search records to see that Chief Edozie Njoku was APGA’s first Vice National Chairman (South East).
He was part of those that invested their personal finances, time and energy to build APGA as the winning platform it became before the locust invasion
Chief Edozie Njoku’s wealth of experience, particularly his organizational skills and sharp intellect, had been acknowledged at various points when he occupied various other high positions of authority in the party.
Some of Oye’s co-travellers would acknowledge that APGA benefitted from Chief Njoku’s leadership style, sharp intellect and humane dispositions.
It was based on those sterling qualities and democratic ethos that Chief Edozie Njoku’s perfect grasp of APGA Constitution and its internal operational dynamics came very handy in the recent legal fireworks that redefined the party’s leadership.
For instance, while Oye and his hirelings believed that they could ride roughshod over the APGA Constitution, Chief Edozie Njoku and his fellow patriots insisted that the party’s conventions COULDN’T be held without Ward, Local Government and State congresses as conditions precedent.
It beggars belief that Oye and co doesn’t know the simple processes leading to a national convention. This is the step-by-step guide in a nutshell: Delegates and party executives are elected at the Ward, Local Government and State congresses.
These calibers of party functionaries and statutory delegates converge at the Convention ground to elect all the party’s National Executives, including Ex-officio members. That is why a party’s convention is the highest organ of the party.
Extant APGA National Convention
Flowing from the foregoing, it should be noted that APGA agreed to hold Ward, LGA and State congresses on 2nd, 3rd and 6th of May, 2019; that is, to precede the end of the tenure of the party executives on 15th of May 2019 and the National Convention on May 31, 2019 at Owerri.
The Ward, LGAs and State congresses of the party were actually held in all the 36 States of the federation in 2019 as agreed.
However, in his characteristic manner, as a Church bazaar auctioneer, Oye and his gang, realizing that the congresses didn’t produce their preferred candidates, so as to facilitate their automatic reelection, quickly decided to hold an emergency NEC meeting to grant them powers to conduct fresh Congresses.
Surprised by the outcome of the congresses and in a face saving maneuver, Oye and his group of desperadoes hurriedly held an emergency NEC meeting on May 14, 2019 at the Government House, Awka.
That contemptible NEC meeting arrived at a contrary decision, which not only mocked the party’s earlier agreement, but also an affront to sanity and APGA’s grund norm.
At the hurriedly convened NEC meeting, they dissolved the BoT, cancelled the congresses conducted at the Wards, LGAs and State on May, 2, 3 and 6, 2019 respectively. In continuation of the arbitrariness, Oye and his clique decided to schedule fresh Wards, LGAs and States’ congresses for May 19, 21 and 23, 2019.
But, like a man who was in a hurry to bury his dead body, Oye and co took the despicable decisions without taking into cognizance the fact that the tenures of the party executives who are to conduct the Congress elections at the Ward, LGA and State levels expired on May 15, 2019.
Piqued by Oye’s intransigence and attempt to obfuscate the constitutional violations, the party’s BoT members approached a Federal High Court in Kwale and got a restraining order, barring Oye and Co from conducting any form of convention at Awka.
Recall that the Convention Committee had already been constituted. Based on this, the Convention Committed went on with their assigned duty at Concorde Hotel, Owerri and produced Chief Edozie Njoku, as duly elected National Chairman of APGA and the entire National Executives.
KWALE HIGH COURT ORDER
The Kwale Court acted in discernible sagacity, because the Oye-led exco lacked the constitutional rights, powers and privileges to go ahead with any form of convention, having derived its powers from an illegally convened NEC meeting. The Order of Court promptly halted the execution of every decision emanating from the purported NEC meeting.
Agitated by the Kwale Court Order, Samson Olalere and others, acting on the promptings of Oye ran to High Court Ibadan to give the planned illegal convention some sense of legitimacy.
Despite the clear position of the Ibadan High Court to the contrary, Oye and Co went ahead to organize a parallel Convention at Awka, without duly elected delegates; notwithstanding the fact that the party’s BoT had obtained an Ex parte Order stopping the Convention from going ahead.
HERE LIES THE CRUX OF THE MATTER
The fact that Oye went ahead to conduct a parallel and illegal convention, using party delegates whose their tenure had expired as at May 15, 2019 clearly rendered the purported convention null and void before the law. This fact remains Oye’s greatest nightmare.
Apparently, the judgment of the Appeal Court Ibadan on September 14, 2020, is nothing but an interment for Oye’s vaulting and selfish ambition.
Therefore, Oye’s claim that INEC’s presence at the ill-advised convention confers legitimacy on the exercise is stupefying. At this juncture, it should be noted that INEC, being a creation of the law and a law-abiding institution, couldn’t go against constituted authorities. Of course, since INEC has always respected court rulings, this would not be an exception.
Having taken time to expose these facts, it is clear as crystal that the purported congresses of May 19, 21 and 23, 2019 does not exist in the eyes of the law.
In matters of this nature, the law deals with CONCRETE and VERIFIABLE facts. In ‘The Law of Evidence in Nigeria’, Akintola Aguda argues that the law relies on incontrovertible facts that are substantially unarguable to determine cases. Therefore, it is no rocket science how the Ibadan Appeal Court arrived at the September 14, 2020 judgment.
The judgment was substantially hinged on the premise that the tenures of the Ward, Local Government and State Officers that partook in Oye’s convention had expired. So, their participation in that convention rendered it a nullity before the law.
Without fear of contradiction, it is apparent that the Ibadan Appeal Court judgment confirmed the legitimacy of the Owerri convention that produced Chief Edozie Njoku as APGA National Chairman.
Perhaps, recourse to the excerpts of the referenced Ibadan High Court judgment will make the matter simpler to understand.
Before the purported Awka convention by Oye and co, a suit had been instituted at Ibadan High Court by Oye’s ally, Deacon Samson Segun Olalere to validate the convention which was stopped by the Kwale Court.
They sought for four reliefs of similar nature, among which are:
- ‘A declaration that pursuant to the specific and mandatory provisions of section 223(1)(a) and (2)(a) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and article 19(3) and(4) of the APGA Constitution 2014 (as amended), the Defendants are under a constituted obligation to organize congresses and national convention for the election of party officers across the country before the expiration of the tenure of the current officers on the 15th May, 2019 for the local government and state officers and on 5th June, 2019 for the National officers of the party’.
- ‘An Order of this Honorable Court directing the Defendants (Oye and APGA) to forthwith organize and conduct ward congresses, local government congresses and state congresses across the country for the election of new party officers before the expiration of the tenures of the incumbent officers on 15th May 2019’.
In granting these reliefs, Justice Mashud A A. Abass has this to say, ‘And after hearing Mr. A. A Babalola, counsel to the claimant who moved the originating summons dated and filed 28th day of April 2019, and Mr. Kehinde Olawumi holding brief for Ifeanyi Mbaeri, counsel to the defendants who did not oppose the application……
‘In view of the non-opposition of this application by the Respondents, particularly when the state Chairman of the party is present in Court and he expresses no desire to oppose the application, the Court is inclined to grant all the reliefs of the applicant as contained in the application. The orders are accordingly granted as prayed’.
This judgment clearly nullifies any action taken by anyone to elect party officers who purportedly went for the illegal Awka convention to elect any National officer including Oye, provided such congress officers were themselves elected after 15th May 2019.
It is common knowledge that this order of court was violated by Oye and co when they conducted Congresses on the 19, 21, and 23 of May 2019.
It may interest us to know that the legal battle that has brought us to the Appeal Court presently began when Oye sought the intervention of an Abuja High court to stop Chief Njoku from taking over as National Chairman through a fraudulent procurement of court injunction at the Jabi High Court.
This was to stop Chief Edozie Njoku from parading himself as the National Chairman. This was after he lost at the Ibadan Court. Midway into the Abuja matter, Oye withdrew unceremoniously, thus removing all the encumbrances that prevented Njoku from ‘parading’ himself as the National Chairman.
With no legal inhibition again, Njoku rightly became the undisputed Chairman. However, he refused to force his way into office but sought refuge in the law by heading to the Court to prevail on INEC to recognize him in accordance with due process.
Armed with the leave granted by a Bauchi Federal High Court, Chief Njoku took INEC to a Federal High Court in Abuja demanding his recognition after the election umpire fell short of honoring his written request.
On getting hint of the matter, Oye and his cronies applied to be joined. Oye’s application was hardly decided either way when he hastily filed an Appeal against the decision of the lower court to reserve judgment on the interlocutory application touching on the substantive matter to a future date, when the order sought and the judgment will be given together.
It is instructive at this point to note that the election of Chief Edozie Njoku as the duly elected National chairman has never been challenged in any form by anybody, not even Oye or any other member.
Those in the court with Njoku are those trying to use INEC to prevent the issuance of recognition to him, using the old and hackneyed legal trick of delaying the process through frivolous applications.
Behind the mind of these unfortunate hawks standing against Njoku is to remain in office so as to be part of the upcoming Anambra state governorship election. Their aim is to repeat the fraudulent bazaar of extortion of aspirants.
It should be recalled that the efforts made by Oye to reverse the Ibadan High Court judgment by seeking the Appeal Court to set it aside was a kill for the man who thinks APGA has become his private property.
The Ibadan Appeal Court did not only refuse to set aside the judgment of the court below but declared the application as incompetent and was ordered to be delisted from the record of the court.
The implication of this judgment falls on Oye as having no chance of any legal recognition as Chairman with the delegates who purportedly elected him on the 19, 21, 23 of May 2019 after the tenures of the officers expired on the 15th May 2019.
This detailed explanation has become necessary and important, especially the legal perspective so that a better understanding of the matter can be heard and appreciated by everyone.
This will aid honest and committed party men and women to make informed decisions and avoid regrets at the end.
It is evident that there is always an end to impunity. The end to this legal contestation is nearby and no one should live in the illusion of temporary possession of power by the opponents to plunge into crocodile infested water.
APGA shall be free and secured to the glory of God and the blessing of members.
The Emergent APGA Group