S’Court Affirms Oye APGA Chairman, Dismisses Agbaso’s Suit,
From Osiberoha Osibe
Finally, the Nigeria’s apex court, the Supreme Court, on Friday (July 13, 2018), put to rest the two-year old battle by a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) seeking to use the court to accord recognition to Chief Martin Agbaso as the National Chairman of the party.
It dismissed the multiple appeals for lack of merit and affirmed Ozo Dr. Victor Oye as the authentic National Chairman of the party.
The judgment in favour of Dr. Oye followed the multiple appeals filed by Chief Martin Agbaso and Mike Alioke whose suits were dismissed by the Enugu Division of the Court of Appeal and reinstated Dr. Oye as the authentic national chairman of the party.
Other Justices of the Supreme Court on the panel include Justices Bode Rhodes-Vivour; Mary Odili and Inyang Okoro
Chief Agbaso had sought for an order of mandamus from an Enugu High Court on May 22, 2017 to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission, police and other stakeholders to recognize him as the national chairman of the party to which the court granted in his favour.
The order followed a motion brought by Comrade Mike Alioke, the party’s deputy chairman in Enugu State for INEC to recognize a previous resolution by party stakeholders to appoint Agbaso as acting national chairman following the vacuum created by the Deputy National Chairman, Ozo Nwabueze Okafor who died months after he was installed to replace Dr. Oye as the APGA boss.
Comrade Alioke’s suit had challenged the continued stay in office by Dr. Oye after the National Working Committee of the party had affirmed his suspension on October 5, last year.
Comrade Alioke had pleaded that the order was necessary on the police in order to avoid a breakdown of law and order in the party.
Dr. Oye had on August 10, 2017, contested an Enugu High Court decision at the Court of Appeal, Enugu which set aside the order of mandamus earlier granted by the court to alienate Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, security agencies and other stakeholders from recognizing the participation of his factional APGA from the electoral process including the 2017 gubernatorial election in Anambra State.
The Court of Appeal order setting aside the Order of Mandamus was made same day the factional APGA led by Dr. Oye had organized and conducted the party’s primary which produced Chief Willie Obiano as the flag bearer of the party for the November 2017 gubernatorial election.
The intendment of Agbaso’s suit was to unseat Dr. Oye and install Hygers Igwebuike who had emerged from his factional party’s primary ahead of the gubernatorial election.
Dissatisfied with the Court of Appeal’s order, Chief Agbaso had approached the Supreme Court through his lawyer, Paul Erokoro (SAN), arguing that Dr. Oye should not benefit from the judgment without first seeking the leave of the court to appeal it as according to him, he (Oye) had allegedly obtained the appeal judgment when he was not part of the case at the lower court.
‘The ruling of the lower court did not put into consideration the provision of the law that leave must first be sought and obtained before appealing as an interested party”, Agbaso’s counsel argued, citing a similar case, Ani Vs Oni.
But Oye’s counsel, had put up brilliant argument insisting that Dr. Oye’s suit was in line with constitutional provision and dismissed the argument by Counsel to Agbaso as an academic exercise.
Reacting to the judgment, a Senior Special Assistant to the Wife of the Governor on Special Duties, Mrs Amaka Ezike said that intention of the appellants was to distract the governor, Chief Willie Obiano from his good works he has been doing, which according to her was not achieved by those who resorted to court to achieve performance delay.