The APC as a party and Abians were recently jolted when a Federal Capital Territory High court made a pronouncement that Chief Ikechi Emenike is the gubernatorial candidate of APC in Abia State.
This judgement came as a result of a legal suit initiated by Chief Emenike in Abuja High Court against APC after the Direct Primary election was conducted by the National Working Committee in which Dr Uche Sampson Ogah emerged as the party’s governorship candidate.
It is reported that Chief Emenike based his claims upon an “interim order” granted by Osisioma High Court in Abia State sometime early last year in which the then chairmanship candidate of APC for the State, Chief Fabian Okonkwo and others sued the then Donatus Nwankpa led Exco. Note that this Exco emerged under Dr John Oyegun’s administration before His Excellency, Adams Oshiomhole took over as the new Chairman under a new Congress.
The implication of that order is that it was made against an Exco whose tenure has elapsed as a new Congress was held in which Chief Donatus Nwankpa emerged as the new State Chairman with other members who are now in power. What makes that interim or interlocutory order of the Osisioma High Court very interesting is that it was made when no personal service was effected on the Defendants to the suit and the proof of service in the court’s file was to the effect that a clerk in the APC’s Secretariat purportedly received the court process on their behalf.
That was a fundamental defect as several Supreme Court authorities have laid down the principle that service of court process on human beings must either be personal or by substituted means which was not the case in the instance. There is an appeal against that purported order and a motion to set aside the order for several reasons including lack of service which is very fundamental in every legal suit.
Remember that I stated above that Chief Donatus Nwankpa led Exco emerged afresh under a new Congress that brought Adams Oshiomhole’s administration as the new chairman of the party into existence. Presently, Chief Donatus Nwankpa is known and recognized as the State Chairman of APC in Abia State and no known court order has invalidated that position since the earlier interlocutory order was with respect to the old Exco whose tenure has expired.
Chief Donatus Nwankpa has a good case against that Osisioma high court ruling for the following reasons:
(a) There was no proof of personal or substituted service on him and his Exco members before the court went ahead to hear the case.
(b) The Defendants were not allowed to file any counter affidavit since they were not served and so the interlocutory order was not made on its merit but as an exparte order sort of.
(c) He has filed a motion to set the ruling aside and also to set aside the service of the court process as improper as no service was effected on him known to law.
(d) He has appealed to the Court of Appeal against the interlocutory order for all the reasons stated above which are germane and genuine.
(e) He has good chance of success with his appeal against that purported order for the reasons as stated above.
Assuming but not conceding that that purported order will have any effect on Chief Donatus Nwankpa’s tenure as the rightful EXCO of Abia State, it does not improve one bit the chances of Chief Ikechi Emenike as the gubernatorial candidate of APC in Abia State for the following reasons:
1. The Gubernatorial Primary Election of ABIA State was conducted as Direct Primary
2. The Direct Primary was issued as part of the Electoral guidelines of APC to Abia State.
3. The Direct Primary was not conducted by the APC State Exco of ABIA State.
4. The Direct Primary was conducted by Electoral Committee led by David Iyoha(Former Edo State Speaker) put together by the National Working Committee led by His Excellency Adams Oshiomhole.
5. Chief Ikechi Emenike’s election was allegedly conducted by Emmanuel Ndukwe’s led Exco contrary to the Electoral Guidelines of the ruling party APC. One Professor Okezie Abarikwu not appointed by the National Working Committee but by the Ndukwe led Exco purportedly conducted and announced Chief Emenike as the winner of their own primaries.
6. Emmanuel Ndukwe is neither known nor recognized by the APC as the state Chairman of APC in Abia State as he never contested for that position under the new congress that brought in Nwankpa led state Exco.
7. Since Dr Uche Ogah’s emergence as the gubernatorial candidate of APC in Abia State was through direct primaries organized by the National Working Committee of APC, his election will never and can never be affected by the legal squabble(if any) between Mr Emmanuel Ndukwe and Chief Donatus Nwankpa.
Concerning the judgement of Chief Emenike in the FCT High court, APC has filed an appeal against it on several tested grounds one of which is denial of fair hearing. They also filed a motion for stay against the judgement.
Dr Uche Ogah has also filed an appeal against the said judgement as he was denied being joined as party to the suit. In addition to this, he Dr Uche Ogah OON has obtained an order of the Federal High Court restraining Chief Emenike from parading himself as the gubernatorial candidate of APC in Abia State. Whatever he does presently contrary to that order is in contempt of that order and there are consequences for that kind of behavior in law.
Having filed the appeal against the judgement of the High Court of the FCT, APC applied for the certified true copy of the judgement but was denied. They wrote several letters to the judge to release same, to no effect. They reported the judge to the Chief Judge of the FCT High court. They also wrote petition to the appropriate authority. She held unto the judgement unto two days ago when she released it believing that APC will not be able to enter appeal until she delivers her ruling refusing application for stay of execution. And so today the 17th January, 2019 as envisaged, she refused the application for stay. Unfortunately for her and Chief Ikechi Emenike, appeal was already entered on the 16th of January(for they were able to transmit already compiled records of appeal but which they couldn’t transmit before then because of the judgement that was yet to be obtained).
Having transmitted the Records to the Court of Appeal on the 16th of January, 2019, the appeal is deemed entered and so the court has no jurisdiction to do what she purportedly did on the 17th of January, 2019 by refusing the application for stay. She was trying to put something on nothing which in law is absolute absurdity! In any case, APC has immediately filed a motion for stay before the Court of Appeal on the same 17th of January, 2019 which is the appropriate court that is presently seised of the matter and INEC has been duly served with the application. APC as a party has stated it for the umpteenth time for those who have ears that their candidate for the Gubernatorial election in 2019 in Abia State is Dr. Uche Ogah. Do not be deceived, do not be misled, do not be confused and do not be misguided. Chief Ikechi Emenike cannot be the governorship candidate of APC in Abia State for the 2019 General Election.
For the doubting Thomases, on January 11 2019, Dr Uche Ogah OON was presented with the flag of APC by the leadership of the party at Umuahia, as their gubernatorial candidate for 2019 General Election in Abia State. In that rally the Chairman of the Party Adams Oshiomhole expressly and publicly disowned Chief Ikechi Emenike as their candidate.
Come January 29 or thereabout President Muhammed Buhari will do likewise in Abia State. AS AT TODAY, DR UCHE OGAH OON IS THE NAME OF THE GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE OF APC ON INEC LIST OF GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES FOR ABIA STATE.
Legally and physically Dr Uche Ogah is the candidate of APC in Abia State for 2019 General Election. Believe me, Uche Chukwu ga eme N’Abia State by March this year.