An Abia State High Court has upheld the results of the congresses of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) at ward, local government and state government levels that were conducted in Abia State by the congress committees set up for that purpose by the national leadership of the party.
Following the conclusion of the ward congress on July 21, 2021, one Mr. Davies Jumbo and some other aggrieved members of Abia APC had gone to court seeking the nullification of the result and to stop the party from going ahead with the local government and state congresses.
But after three months of legal proceedings the court sitting in Ukwa Judicial Division, which was presided over by Justice C.H. Ahuchaogu, in its judgment dated October 2, 2021, dismissed the case, saying that the plaintiffs had come to the court to seek redress with “a frivolous suit.”
In Suit No. HUK/33/2021, the Chairman of APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), Mr. Mai Mala Buni; the Chairman of Ward Congress Commitree for Abia State, Hon. Israel Goli, and nine others were joined as defendants.
The judge also held that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the case since congresses remained domestic affairs of the political party concerned.
He further knocked down the suit on the ground that the CECPC Chairman, Buni, the Congress Committee Chairman, Hon. Goli and six other defendants, who are not residing in Abia were not served the writ of summons.
Other holes the court picked in the suit were that Jumbo and the two other claimants had no locus standi to file the case since they did not participate in the ward congress conducted by the Goli led committee and as such could not challenge the outcome, citing the Supreme Court verdict in Emenike vs. PDP.
The court faulted the inclusion of Mr. Donatus Nwankpa and Perfect Okorie among the defendants in the suit as both party men belong to the same APC faction as the claimants seeking relief in the court.
The claimants had in their statement of claims admitted that the congress committee sent by the CECPC actually came to Abia but did not conduct the ward congress with the Nwankpa led faction, which resorted to self-help by conducting its own congress. After conducting their own congress the group turned round and asked the CECPC to accept their list of winners and reject the list from the congress committee.
The APC ward congress was a battle royale between the loyalists of the Secretary of APC Strategy/Contact Committee, Mr. Ikechi Emenike and those led by Nwankpa with the former coming out triumphant.
The outcome of the Abia APC ward and local government congresses culminated to the state congress in which Mr. Enyinnaya Harbour was elected state chairman of APC while Mr. Chidi Avaja emerged as secretary along with other members of the state working committee. They all emerged at the October 16, 2021 state, congress conducted by the seven-man committee that was led by Hon. Kolawole Babatunde, and empowered by the CECPC