Court rules Nwoye’s election as Enugu APC chairman against party’s constitution
• Ogbodo’s faction moves to appeal judgment
A federal High Court in Enugu State yesterday ruled that the election of Dr. Ben Nwoye, as chairmanship of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state did not comply with article 31 of the party’s constitution.
A faction of the party, led by Okey Ogbodo, had gone to court to challenge the state congress of the party held on May 19, 2019.He argued that Nwoye did not resign and left office 30 days prior to the exercise.
They had contended that Nwoye was ineligible as he failed to have personally applied in writing and obtained a waiver from the national leadership of the party, before seeking to re-contest the position of chairman.However, Nwoye challenged the originating summons, arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
He said further that the case was defective having commenced by way of originating summon, and that it was also not justifiable as it bothers on internal affairs of the party.
Nwoye, had also told the court that Ogbodo was not even a member of the party, and as such lacked the locu standi on the matter.But the court, presided over by Justice A.M Liman in his ruling, granted some reliefs sought by Ogbodo and refused to grant an order for the withdrawal of Certificate of Return issued to Nwoye.
He, however, said the court would not rely on that to order a withdrawal of Nwoye’s certificate of return.Justice Liman held that Section 85 of the Electoral Act made provision for congresses, which mandates political parties to conduct their activities in a democratic manner.
“In the event that the party fails to do so, the aggrieved has right to approach the court to ventilate his anger. It thus makes it justiciable. I hereby rule that this suit is justiciable,” he held.He, however, said the relief 4, whereby Ogbodo was asking to be declared the authentic chairman of the party in the state, could not be granted as the plaintiff abandoned it in his written address.
On the relief praying the court to set aside the certificate of return given to Nwoye, it declined, maintaining that the guidelines used in electing Nwoye had already been concluded.Reacting to the judgment, Ogbodo’s counsel, Ugochukwu Malachy Eze said “the judgment has been delivered by the court; out of the 10 reliefs sought by the plaintiff, the court granted five.”“So, as it stands now, we will appeal the judgment, because you cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand,” he said.
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