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APC leadership crisis: Court reserves ruling for June 26 in Enugu

Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, national chairman, APC

The Federal High Court in Enugu will on June 26 rule on applications brought before it on the leadership crisis in the All Progressives Congress (APC), Enugu State chapter.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the suit is a fallout of the May 19 state congress of the party which produced parallel leadership in the state.

Chief Okey Ogbodo was returned as chairman in one of the factions while Mr Ben Nwoye was elected as chairman in the other faction.

However, Ogbodo approached the court and on May 24 obtained an interim injunction restraining the APC and its privies from recognising Nwoye as chairman.

Joined as defendants in the suit are Chief John Oyegun, the National Chairman of the party, Nwoye, APC and the National Working Committee of the party.

At the resumed hearing, the court presided over by Justice A. M. Liman fixed the ruling after hearing motion of preliminary objection from counsel to the respondent/applicants, Mr Godwin Onwosi.

Onwosi said that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

He also said that that the reliefs sought by the plaintiff/respondents were `non-justiceable’ as the matter was purely an intra-party affair.

The counsel said that the court processes were defective as the plaintiff/respondents failed to endorse the writ of summons as made mandatory by Section 98 of the Sheriffs and Civil Processes Act.

“The major crux of our contention is that a writ for service outside the state must be endorsed concurrently since there are defendants in and out of Enugu,” he said.

He also said that the plaintiff/applicants having mis-spelt the name of the party, joined a none-juristic person in the matter

“The name of the party was wrongly spelt in the suit and this is not the kind of misnomer that could be remedied.

On an application to amend the processes brought by the plaintiff/respondents, Onwosi said:

“This is not the appropriate venue to validate their imaginary grievances. Amendment is not granted to confer jurisdiction on the court”.

Onwosi said that no cause of action had been substantiated by the plaintiff/respondents and urged the court to strike out the suit for lacking in merit.

Responding, counsel to the plaintiff/respondents, Mr Abdul Mohammed told the court that his clients had a valid case and that the suit should stay.

Mohammed said that the constitution of the APC was not abided by in the conduct of the congress that produced Nwoye.

“My client had on May 19 conducted state congress in a venue approved by the leadership of the party and in compliance with the guidelines.

“On May 20, Nwoye who is one of the defendants held another congress,” he said.

The counsel said that the later congress was not in compliance with the guidelines of the party in relation with the date and venue of the congress.

He also said that there was no formal announcement as to the change in date and venue of the state congress.

Mohammed said that his clients would not be denied justice on the account of misspelling of the name of the party, adding that it could be remedied through an application.

NAN further reports that prior to the adjournment, the judge struck out the paragraph seeking to kill the suit on account of wrong spelling of the name of the party as it was alien to the law.

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