Chief Victor Umeh
* Alleges undue interference
By Onyebuchi Ezigbo
The ousted National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh, has said he would drag the Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, to court for interfering with the operations of the party.
Umeh, who addressed journalists in Abuja Wednesday in company of the party's National Secretary Sanni Shinkafi, accused Obi of sowing the seed of confusion in the party.
He said the governor has no power to convene any meeting on behalf of the party, adding that members of party should disregard summons for a meeting this weekend made by the governor and his agents.
He threatened to drag Obi to court if he does anything that would jeopardise his appeal challenging the decision of the Enugu State High Court pending at the Court of Appeal Enugu Division.
Umeh also alleged that the governor was behind the suit that removed the leadership of the party without knowing that the whole thing would collapse the entire party leadership.
He said 10 members of the National Working Committee (NWC), who were on Tuesday recruited to come and accept the judgment have unknowingly ceased to be members of the NWC.
"Agents of Obi have been circulating test messages calling people for a meeting in Abuja with a view to convening a convention planning committee," he said.
"I want to tell him that he has no right to call such a meeting after using the party for the past 10 years he now wants to destroy the party through which he rode to power, I want him to reflect on his political career how we stood by him through thick and thin to get him into office, we stood by him throughout the period he was in court fighting for his mandate against Chris Ngige I was the PW1 and we helped him get back his mandate, he was impeached, we went back to the court and reinstated him, he went for tenure interpretation we went with him up to the Supreme Court," he added.
Umeh pointed out that “Obi, who has been saying he believes in the rule of law, having won his mandate through the court, has shown himself to be a fake democrat with an appeal pending at the Court of Appeal he has swung into action with a bid to overreach the judgment of the Court of Appeal. In the event of his continued plans to continue with his meeting I will drag him to court as he has been trying to destroy the party, he is not a party executive, he does not have any constitutional powers to call any APGA meeting.
"He has tried to force the party leadership in Anambra State to declare him the APGA leader in the state, Obi has no power to negotiate anything with anybody on behalf of APGA, as anybody that does so is doing it at his or her own peril, the party is supreme, there is no way an elected official can be bigger than the party. I have taken it upon my self with my colleagues to defend the supremacy of the party" he added.
He also stated that the Constitution guaranteed him the right of appeal up to the Supreme Court, adding that Obi should not arrogate to himself the powers of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
The High Court in Enugu had in its ruling nullified the party's convention held in 2010 which ratified Umeh's executive for a second term.
By the judgment, all the 29 members of the elected national executive of the party were thrown out and the convention declared null and void.
The court ruling also declared that the tenure of the Umeh-led executive ended in December, 2010 and directed that the NEC of APGA should meet to fix another for
Umeh, who appealed against the judement as a sole defendant said the implication of the court ruling if he had not appealed against it was that APGA no more has any leadership at the national level.
He faulted the judgment, saying the court had no jurisdiction to hear the case and that the court gave its ruling on reliefs that were not sought nor contained in the main suit.
For instance, Umeh said APGA and the other members of the party's NEC were not joined in the suit yet, the judge gave judgment against the party and the 29 members.
Umeh, who dismissed the judgment and described it as biased also filed a motion on notice before the Enugu High Court, praying for an order staying the execution of the February 8, 2013 judgment delivered by the state Chief Judge, Justice Innocent Umezulike, in the suit brought against him by one Jude Okuli, pending the determination of the appeal.
In the motion filed by Patrick Ikwueto (SAN), Umeh notified the lower court that he had filed a notice of appeal, which, he noted, raised fundamental constitutional issues and questioned the competence/jurisdiction of the court to entertain and adjudicate on Okuli’s suit.
He stated that Umezulike had made an order of injunction against him as the national chairman of APGA as well as the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party stressing that: “Unless by an order of this court, irreversible damage will be done to the defendant/appellant/applicant, as well as APGA, if the judgment/orders of the court are not stayed, pending the hearing and determination of the Appeal.”
In a 21-paragraph affidavit in support of the motion personally deposed to by Umeh, he told the court that prior to the delivery of the judgment, he had appealed against the proceedings of the court.
In the appeal, Umeh expressed total dissatisfaction with the decision of the Enugu State Chief Judge in the matter, saying he erred in law by dismissing his notice of preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of his court to entertain Okuli’s suit, adding that the court erred in law and thereby occasioned a miscarriage of justice when it held that it had the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
He further told the appellate court that by setting aside the decision reached by APGA at its national convention held on February 10, 2010, “the trial court acted without jurisdiction and thereby reached an erroneous conclusion when it granted reliefs not claimed by any party before it. A court is not a charitable institution and is without power to grant any unclaimed relief.”