The crisis in the Imo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), arising from the last week disputed fresh congresses that were ordered by the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, has deepened.
THISDAY gathered from the national headquarters of the party in Abuja last night that some chieftains of APC from state: Senator Ifeanyi Godwin Araraume; Imo State Governor Eze Madumere; the immediate past National Organising Secretary of APC, Senator Osita Izunaso;
Senator Ben Uwajumogu and others are under suffocating pressure from their teaming supporters/followers to leaving the party, following irreconcilable party dispute with Governor Roacha Okorocha.
The source said that the ‘’pressure is predicated on the strong feeling’’ that Oshiomhole is working with the state governor to chase them out of the party.
‘’But for Senator Ifeanyi Godwin Araraume, who obviously, is deeply rooted in President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term project, they would have announced their movement from the party this week.
‘’And unless the president personally intervenes, our party will be crippled in the state. Araraume and his people control APC in the state. If they leave, that will be the end of APC in the state’’, the source stated.
He added, ‘’At a point Governor Okorocha’s seemingly anti-people programmes and policies were killing the party in the state, it was Senator Araraume who rejuvenated the party’s structures and rekindled the hope of members. Why do you want to push him out?”
The National Chairman of APC and the National Legal Adviser, Oshiomhole and Mr. Babatunde Ogala respectively, were recently warned against the huge legal implications of the fresh congresses in the Imo State chapter, which was said to have been organised last week.
In a letter addressed to the party’s national chairman by K. C. Nwufo (SAN) on behalf of APC’s stakeholders in the state, he had warned that it would be ‘’contentious of the court for any congress to be held in Imo State, let alone appointing any caretaker committee during the pendency of a motion on notice for interlocutory injunction pending the determination of the appeal against the judgment in suit no: FHC/OW/CS/69/2018.’’
Relaying on the judgement of the Federal High Court, sitting in Owerri, the Imo State capital, dated July 6, 2018, which ordered fresh congresses in Imo State chapter of the party, the national secretariat of APC had scheduled to commence the congress tomorrow.
But informing the party of the pendency of appeal against the judgement, Barrister Nwufo (SAN) informed the national leadership of APC that it is a settled matter by the Supreme Court that ‘’after the defendant has been notified of the pendency of a matter seeking an injunction, even though a temporary injunction be not granted, he acts at his peril and subject to the power of court to restore the status wholly irrespective of the merits as they may be ultimately decided.’’
The senior lawyer further explained that once a suit seeking an injunction is pending in court, anybody who acts contrary to it is doing so at his own peril, as he is liable to be committed to prison for contempt of court.
‘’Since we believe that we are in a democratic dispensation, we shall allow the rule of law to prevail. For the rule of law to prevail, we must not take the laws into our hands’’, the SAN warned.
‘’In a civilized society, such as Nigeria, once a matter is pending before a court, parties should stay further extra-judicial actions and allow the sacred wisdom that flows from the temple of justice to guide their conducts.’’
Similarly, in a letter dated July 18, 2018 by a law firm, Ahmed Raji & Co on behalf of the Imo State Chairman of APC, Chief Hilary Eke, the national chairman of the party was also informed of the pending appeals and motion for stay of execution in the same suit.
The letter signed by Ahmed Raji (SAN) on behalf of the law firm, averred that in the recent congresses of APC in Imo State, Chief Eke and those he represents were elected as party officers in different capacities at the local government areas and state levels.
He added, “The said election was recognised and accepted by the party. However, certain aggrieved members of the party instituted an action at the Federal High Court, Owerri Judicial Division (suit No. FHC/OW/CS/69/2018) to challenge the election, on the primary ground that it was inconclusive.’’
The SAN further argued that while the court agreed with the plaintiffs, Chief Eke and other officers of the state chapter of APC, had lodged an appeal to the Court of Appeal in a bid to challenge the judgement of the Federal High Court.
He added that a motion for stay of execution of the said judgement was also filed to ensure parties remain at status quo, pending the determination of the appeal, and until the motion for stay of execution.
On his part, Senator Izunaso through his lawyer, Chief Soronnadi A. Njoku, in a letter dated July 17, 2018, also informed the National Legal Adviser of the party about the pendency of motion for injunction pending appeal in the same suit.
He equally advised the party to respect the judicial process by not taking any step whatsoever in respect of the subject matter of the said suit until the matter is fully and final resolved by the court.