By Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has suffered a setback in his bid to foist a particular governorship candidate on the Abia State chapter of the party as an Abuja High court Thursday affirmed Chief Ikechi Emenike as the authentic flag bearer.
Two governorship candidates had emerged from parallel primaries of APC with Emenike emerging from the Dr. Emmanuel Ndukwe state executives which have legal backing while Mr. Uche Ogah emerged from the faction led by Hon. Donatus Nwankpa.
On November 29, 2018, an Abuja High Court in its ruling on suit No. FCT/HC/CV/3097/18 voided the candidacy of Mr. Ogah, saying that Chief Emenike was the validly nominated flag bearer of the party since he emerged from the authentic state leadership of Abia APC
But in defiance of the court order, the national leadership of APC submitted Ogah’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which published his name on the list of governorship candidates. Still defying the court Oshiomhole on January 11, 2019, handed over the party flag to Ogah at a campaign rally organised by the faction that threw him up.
While ignoring the court order Ogah and his Abia faction of APC went to the court and applied for stay of execution of the order voiding his candidacy to enable him to stand for the forthcoming governorship poll.
However, in his ruling yesterday an FCT High Court Kubwa, presided over by Justice K.N. Ogbonnaya dismissed the application for stay of execution, affirming that Emenike remains the authentic c APC governorship flag bearer.
He said that it amounted to “clear abuse of judicial process” for Ogah and Oshiomhole to disobey the court and turn round to seek redress, describing the application for stay of execution as “unmeritorious and un-grantable”.
The judge chided both the national leadership of APC and INEC for not allowing the plaintiff (Emenike) to reap the fruits of the court judgment by publishing Ogah’s name on the list of governorship candidates in disobedience to the court order.
Meanwhile, Nwankpa in his reaction to the court ruling told journalists that his faction has appealed the ruling, adding that there have been conflicting court ruling on the issue of the party’s governorship candidate.
Counsel to Emenike, Mr. Somadila Uzodinma told journalists in Umuahia that the court ruling has put to rest any doubt on the true governorship candidate of APC in Abia hence Chief Emenike “shall definitely fly the flag of Abia APC in the forthcoming election”.
Chief Emenike in his reaction said that the court ruling has vindicated his position that impunity will never stand in the face of rule of law and justice, adding that disregard to court orders has already put APC in a bad situation in Rivers and Zamfara states ahead of the 2019 poll.
On the disparaging of his personality by Oshiomhole, the Abia APC governorship candidate said that he has high regard for the office of the APC national chairman but warned that the man occupying that position presently should be “ready to explain himself in court” over the libelous statements he made last week at the rally in Umuahia.