I was in the appellate court in Kano on Thursday, August 5, 2021 and witnessed firsthand all that transpired. It was an interesting and enriching experience.
You could then imagine how surprised I had been reading different accounts of what really happened in Kano. Most of the accounts were jaundiced, tendentious and deliberately designed to deceive.
The court session commenced at the appointed time and both counsels were asked to address the court and make their final submissions.
The Lead Counsel for APGA and Victor Oye, Wole Olanipekun, SAN, with other lawyers put up a brilliant performance as usual. Wole Olanipekun dealt squarely with the issue of whether the extant case was a pre-election matter or not citing a plethora of cases to support his position. He asked a rhetorical question: “Can a matter become a pre-election matter at the Court of Appeal that was not a pre-election matter and filed within 14 days at the lower court? To which the answer is a capital ‘No”.
From information deposed at the court, the case at the lower Court was filed in 2021 with regards to an alleged convention of APGA held in 2019. So assuming it is even pre-election, it means that the case at the lower court was defective from the word go and filed out of time.
Wole Olanipekun cited several cases in which the Supreme Court ruled that such cases should not be deemed as a pre-election matter or that such illegal actions should not be validated under the cloak of a limitation statute. Other arguments were made to deal with the issue exhaustively.
He cited several cases in which the Supreme Court ruled that cases arising from leadership tussle of a political party should not be deemed as a pre-election matter.
The major plank of the case at the Appeal Court, Kano is to determine whether the High Court, Birnin Kudu, Jigawa State acted within jurisdiction in entering judgment in favour of one Jude Okeke.
From evidence before the court, the Jude Okeke group is a bunch of impostors, colluding with one another to mislead the court and miscarry justice.
Jude Okeke and his co-travellers went to Birnin Kudu, Jigawa State to file a suit in a matter that took place in Awka, claiming to have removed one Edozie Njoku and replaced him as acting National Chairman without joining the legal and legitimate national Chairmam of APGA, Ozonkpu Victor Ike Oye.
To show how myopic and mischievous Jude Okeke and his motley sponsors were, they did not file a single document showing legitimate claim to the seat of national chairman of the party.
The truth of the matter is that the Birnin Kudu High Court did not have territorial jurisdiction to hear the suit in the first place.
And the Supreme Court of Nigeria has already frowned at this in its judgments on similar matters.
Again, the so-called Jude Okeke and his co-meddlesome interlopers did not file any APGA Constitution produced by Edozie Njoku whom they claimed they sacked to bring in Jude Okeke.
The APGA Constitution they used in filing their suits was the one approved by the National Convention conducted by the Oye-led APGA on May 31, 2019 in Awka. In fact, it was Oye as National Chairman of APGA and Labaran Maku as National Secretary that signed the APGA Constitution 2019 into law abd submitted to INEC on June 17, 2019.
From available facts their file contained no genuine documents, showing any legitimate claim to the leadership of the party.
What is before the Court of Appeal Kano is a case of desperate collusion between Jude Okeke, Garba Aliyu and their sponsors and co-conspirators.
Aware of the futility of their case, all their counsel concentrated on in court was technicalities, which the Supreme Court has always frowned at.
In its judgment in the suit between Comrade Alioke Vs Victor Oye on July 13, 2018 the Supreme Court described the effort by the Appellants’ counsel to mislead the court by raising many technical issues for determination thus:
_”…we are not technicians in the workshop of technicalities.”_
By so doing it dismissed Alioke’s appeal and upheld the judgment of the Court below in which Oye’s position as National Chairman of APGA was reaffirmed.
The lead judgment was read by Justice Mohammed Bage, now the Emir of Lafia.
What therefore some persons are circulating from the opposing camp is speculative, misleading and not a true representation of what transpired at the Court of Appeal, Kano on Thursday.
Because the Jude Okeke team are aware that their suit is standing on nothing they have resorted to spreading fake news and making incinerating insinuations to give some hope to their supporters who have been struck by the reality of impending defeat.
Let us tell ourselves the truth: on what basis did the opposing camp file an appeal at the Court of Appeal, Kano?
What documents do they have to buttress their bogus claims?
They have no constitution. They are relying on the same constitution produced by the Oye-led national leadership and ratified by the National Convention on May 31, 2019 in Awka.
In their submission at the lower court in Birnin Kudu they claimed that Oye was not reelected when his tenure expired on June 5, 2019. Why then use the constitution his leadership produced and submitted to INEC on June 17, 2019 when it officially came into effect?
You can see how confused Jude Okeke and Co are.
Another issue they raised at the Court was that Jude Okeke replaced one Edozie Njoku as acting national chairman. But facts before the court show that Edozie Njoku does not even exist in the eye of the law. In his appeal before the Court of Appeal in Kano he could not produce a single document to show any legitimate claim to the seat of the national chairman of APGA. All that was found in his file were two suits he filed against Oye at the High Courts in Abuja.
Njoku could not also show any evidence that INEC monitored his so-called national convention in Owerri on the same day the Oye-led APGA was holding their national convention in Awka.
Is it logical that INEC would monitor two national conventions of the same political party the same day?
There is no gainsaying the fact, that Edozie Njoku and Jude Okeke are impostors, fake and should be made to face criminal charges bordering on perjury, forgery, and impersonation.
In any other civilised society, such men should have been cooling their heels in jail, instead of being given prominence for their notoriety.
How could these men have laid claim to the office of national chairman of APGA so brazenly and nobody has called them to question?
Did law enforcement agencies and INEC not know that Chukwuma Umeoji whom INEC published his name in place of the legally-authorized person, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, whose particulars were duly uploaded and submitted to INEC on July 2, 2021, came to Oye-led APGA on May 27, 2021 to purchase Expression of Interest and Nomination forms which he filled and returned on June 8, 2021?
Did they also not know that the same Umeoji submitted himself to the same Oye-led APGA for screening?
When he was screened out, he even appealed by proxy to the Appeal Panel.
It was after his appeal was dismissed that he formed his own Exco, nay insurgents, with total strangers whom he railroaded into a hotel lobby at Garki Area 11, Abuja to hold what it called “national executive committee” meeting.
No genuine member of APGA as listed in Article 11 of the 2019 Constitution of the party attended the so-called NEC.
So on what basis is INEC dealing with Umeoji and Jude Okeke, if I may ask?
I have gone this far to unmask the impostors so that the whole world would know the true persons they are.
They know they have lost in their dangerous and puerile adventure and are seeking ways to escape the long arm of justice.
The story they are circulating about the sitting of the Kano Court of Appeal was a figment of their obsessed imagination, craftily sponsored to mislead, misguide and frighten the public and millions of APGA supporters.
In all, they have failed because the majority of APGA members have implicit confidence in the judiciary to do justice to the matter, towing the same line as the bold pronouncements by the Court of Appeal, Awka in which it took the judges that delivered the infamous judgments of Owerri and Birnin Kudu to the cleaners.
In its ruling on Monday, August 2, 2021 the court called for disciplinary action to be taken against the two judges and any other judges involved in giving judgements outside their areas of jurisdiction, including the lawyers that take such cases to them.
As a law-abiding party, I urge the leadership of the party under Obiano/Oye to continue to pursue justice and fairness in the best possible way, while urging their numerous supporters to remain upbeat and focused as the Court of Appeal deliver justice.
Bravo to APGA Legal Team!