By Leonard Okachie
2023: Don’t celebrate yet, Abia guber aspirant tells Uche Ogah; Says Appeal Court to decide APC’s fate
Umuahia, Nov. 23, 2022
An APC governorship aspirant in Abia, Chief Daniel Eke, has said that the decision of the Court of Appeal in his suit will determine whether the party would field a candidate or not in 2023.
The Director-General of Chief Eke Campaign Organisation, Abia South, Mr. Endy Ogalabu, disclosed this in a statement issued in Umuahia and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday.
The organisation was reacting to a Federal High Court judgment that pronounced Chief Uche Ogah, the former Minister of Mines and Steel Development and governorship aspirant of the party, as APC’s rightful candidate for 2023.
It described the celebration of the judgment in Umuahia by Ogah and his supporters as “misplaced, uncalled for and repugnant to wise and good judgement.”
The statement was captioned, “The Ogah and Ikechi Emenike’s parallel court victory: Too early to rejoice.”
It stated that the jubilant supporters were unmindful of the reality on ground, citing his pending suit at the appellate court.
“To us, this is a public show of indiscretion and desperation, which ultimately may again translate to celebrating an imminent stillbirth.
“In case they are unaware or pretend to have forgotten, the legal battle is far from over.
“We, therefore, wish to draw their attention to the suit instituted at the Appeal Court, Owerri Division, by our principal, Chief Daniel Eke,” the statement added.
It recalled that Eke had approached the Appeal Court in suit No. CA/OW/419/2022 to quash the October 7 judgment of the Umuahia Federal High Court in the suit No. FHC/UM/CS/96/2022.
According to the statement, the trial court dismissed Eke’s suit on the basis that he lacked the locus standi to challenge the outcomes of the party primaries.
Ogah and Emenike, another chieftain of the party, had organised parallel governorship primaries on May 26 and each emerged as candidate.
Eke, who complained that the processes of the primaries violated the party Constitution and Electoral Act, had urged the court to invalidate the candidacies of the two gladiators.
The campaign organisation stated that the appellate court had already heard and reserved judgment in the suit.
“This means that any moment, the court would give its verdict,” the statement added.
It contended that the verdict had the capacity to finally invalidate the governorship aspirations of both Ogah and Emenike.
The organisation noted that Ogah and Emenike were joined in the suit as third and second respondents, respectively.
“We are glad to state that our team of lawyers, led by Chief Obinna Nkume, put up a strong argument backed with solid evidence to convince the appellate court on why the outcomes of the two primaries should be nullified.
“It is therefore too early for Ogah to stage a public display for a verdict that may not survive the crucible of the upper court,” it stated.
It described the street celebration as “a demonstration of another Victorian melodrama, which revived the reminiscences of a similar episode in June 27, 2016.
“On that day, Ogah embarked on a wild celebration of the judgment of Justice Okon Abang, which pronounced him the ‘rightful winner’ of the governorship poll rather than the incumbent Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu!
“The court had ousted Ikpeazu over the alleged submission of a fake tax receipt during the PDP Governorship Primary Election,” it added.
“And while Ogah was celebrating the judgment, Ikpeazu busied himself tying all the necessary legal knots that scuttled Ogah’s ambition and rendered Abang’s judgment humanly impossible to enforce to date,” it further stated.
It recalled that not only did Ikpeazu obtain a stay of execution order from an Osisioma High Court but secured a Federal High Court, Abuja, judgment that invalidated Abang’s judgment.
The campaign group, therefore, expressed surprise that the recent development showed that Ogah had learnt nothing “on how not to put the cart before the horse.”
It advised the former minister “to exercise wisdom, maturity and restraint and await the definite pronouncement of the Appeal Court, Owerri”.
It opined that the outcome of the suit “could redefine the narrative for APC”, ahead of the governorship poll in 2023.