Aggrieved Benue APC Members Urge Court Not to Swear in Disputed Leaders

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George Okoh in Makurdi

Crises is brewing in the Benue State chapter of the All Progressives Congress(APC) following a case filled by some aggrieved members of the party at the Makurdi High Court to seek stay of execution of an outcome of the congress which purportedly elected the chairman and three other executive officers of the party last year.

The aggrieved members, who are Oga Matthew Omale Omale, Moses Ojila Agaba, and Matthias Agbo Onmikpa, in suit number: MHC/14/2022, filed an originating summons and a motion on notice for interlocutory injunction restraining the APC from swearing in Augustine Agada, Hassan Mohammed and Musa O. Alechenu as elected chairman, treasurer and assistant secretary respectively, of the APC in Benue State.

In the summons made available to journalists in Makurdi yesterday, Jibrin Okutepa, SAN and J. J. Usman, SAN, counsel to the plaintiffs, said their clients were adopted consensus candidates for the positions of chairman, treasurer and assistant secretary respectively of the APC in the state and were duly declared elected officials of the party by the APC Election Appeal Committee.

“Dissatisfied with the decision of the Electoral Committee, our clients filed their appeals/petitions before the Appeal Committee which heard the parties involved and declared our clients as the elected chairman, treasurer and assistant secretary of the APC in Benue State.

“Contrary to the will of the people, the

Electoral Committee proceeded with the election and purportedly declared Augustine Agada, Hassan Mohammed and Musa O. Alechenu as chairman, treasurer and assistant secretary of the APC in Benue State,” Okutepa said.

The Appeal Committee of the party corroborated the claim of the petitioners when it stated that: “The elections took place but without compliance with the party constitution and the guidelines for the state congress.”

According to the Appeal Congress Report of the party signed by Hon. Sani El-katzu, chairman; Alhaji Ibrahim Usman, secretary; Shuaibu Muhammed, Prince Okon Enetak, and Naqnniep Pingwai, “the committee is of the view that the Benue State congress is at best inconclusive.”

The appeal panel stated that the video evidence presented by the petitioner confirmed a zonal meeting of the Benue South Senatorial district where the zonal positions were rightly zoned by the leadership, zoning the state chairman to Apa Local Government Area.

“Finally, based on the violence and the extensive investigations carried out by us as appeal committee members, we hereby hold that Benue State APC, having adopted a consensus mode of congress, is bound to uphold the zoning and consensus candidates from all the zones, including that of Zone C; maintain that the position of the state chairman of the party can no longer be in Obadigbo Local Govemment Area for reasons that the outgoing state chairman is from that LGA and has been chairman for about 12 years.

“That the purported return of one Austin Agada, a native of Obadigbo LGA, is a nullity being not a candidate from the zoned LGA but from the same LGA with the outgoing chairman.

“And consequently, the committee recommends that Omale Omale from Apa LGA and the consensus Cchairmanship candidate by the zonal leadership; Hon. Mathias Agbo Omikpa from Okpokwu LGA for the position of assistant state secretary; Hon. Moses Agaba from Otukpo LGA for the position of treasurer be upheld and affirm respectively in the interest of the integrity of the process adopted in Benue State in respect of the October 16, 2021, state congress held in Makurdi,” the APC Appeal Committee stated.

Meanwhile, Agada, who was elected as the chairman of the party in the state, has denied the knowledge of any petition against him.

He said he remains the dully elected chairman, and called for the unity of the party in the state.