By Onyebuchi Ezigbo
The ousted National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Mr. Bernard Akoma, has given reasons why the embattled National Chairman of the party, Chief Victor Umeh, cannot convene a valid national convention.
Akoma in a statement issued yesterday, said the moves by Umeh to use the state executives of the party to convene National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party with an intent to organise a national convention was unconstitutional.
He said the exercise was against the ruling of the Enugu High Court judgment and may be challenged as contempt of the court pronouncement.
“Unfortunately this uncompromising attitude of the former chairman will go further to disorganise the party just as it continues to expose his desperation and the allegation that if he does not hold on tenaciously to the position of the national chairman of the party that APGA could as well cease to exist as a political party,” he said.
Akoma said conventionally, a meeting of the NEC of any political party including APGA is convened by its National Working Committee (NWC).
He explained that members of the NEC of APGA, according to the party constitution, was made of all NWC members, all state chairmen elected by a congress of the party and governors, deputy governors, speakers, deputy speakers among others elected on the platform of the party by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Others are members of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party.
“It is the NWC of the party that communicates date and venue and time of any NEC meeting to the other organs of the party,” he said.
However, Akoma said the arrangement was altered recently in APGA by the judgment of an Enugu High Court on February 8.
“In a suit brought against the leadership of Chief Victor Umeh, former national chairman of the party, by a chieftain of the party, Okoli jude Ejike, the learned judge declared the entire process through which Umeh and other elected organs of the party emerged in 2011 null and void and not in the manner contemplated by the constitution of the party.
“The learned judge however recognised all other bodies whose membership of the NEC are not determined by the flawed 2011 congresses and convention as constitutional members of NEC. These Ex-officio members of the NEC are the governors, deputies, speakers, deputy speakers but not including state chairmen of the party.
“In order not to let the party hanging, the learned judge directed these constitutional members of NEC to organise a credible convention which will include state congresses for the party,” he said.
Akoma recalled that the national convention of the party which took place in 2011 was the cumulative effect of the congresses that were supposed to take place at the various wards, local governments and states of the federation but which did not take place.
“The court pronouncement was actually a judgment against the high handedness of the former chairman of the party, Umeh. It is on record that many people have been single-handedly expelled from the party by Umeh for dare criticising his dictatorship tendencies in the party.
“It was this undemocratic leadership style of the former chairman that resulted in every chairman of the state executive, including the council chairmen of the party simply being handpicked as nominees of the former chairman and not elected by any congress.
“The National Working Committee (NWC) of the party never organised nor set any panel to conduct congresses in any state before the national convention of 2011. All these were the facts that informed the learned judge of Enugu State to declare the whole process invalid,” he said.