The Supreme Court presided over by Justice John Fadiyi has fixed January 15, 2016 to deliver its judgment on the protracted leadership dispute between Victor Umeh and Maxi Okwu in All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Before reserving its judgment, the Supreme Court judges listened to counsel of both parties as they adopted their final written addresses.
Okwu’s counsel, Garba Pwul (SAN) and Oba Maduabuchi, had prayed the court to set aside the judgment of the Appeal Court, which reversed the ruling of an Abuja High Court of January 15, 2015 and allow the appeal by upholding their client as the authentic National Chairman of APGA.
Pwul contended that the Appeal Court erred by ruling on jurisdiction and ignored the merit of the case, pointing out that Umeh imposed himself on the party for over 10 years in violation of APGA’s constitution and without recourse to re-election by secret ballot at a duly convened national convention.
The senior lawyer added that the fact that Umeh had since vacated office did not affect the case, which was filed in August 2013 even as he enjoined the apex court to order INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) to recognise Maxi Okwu’s leadership of the party.
Countering Umeh’s counsel’s submission, Pwul averred that there was no claim against APGA by the appellants (Okwu and those elected with him in the April 8, 2013 convention at Awka, Anambra State) but against Victor Umeh and Sani Shinkafi who violated the party’s constitution.
However, counsel to Umeh, Patrick Ikwueto (SAN), pleaded with the court to dismiss the appeal and uphold the June 18 Court of Appeal judgment, which recognised Umeh as the national chairman, pointing out that since APGA was not joined, jurisdiction and merit of the matter were interwoven in the appellate court ruling.
INEC’s brief of argument filed by Ibrahim Bawa SAN was also adopted.