Rivers APC: Abe wins as Court declares Aguma authentic chairman

…Orders inclusion of Abe’s loyalties in congresses

From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt

Senator Magnus Abe led faction of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers smiled yesterday as former Federal lawmaker Igo Aguma was declared the new Chairman of the party in the state

This was according to the ruling delivered on Tuesday, by Justice George Omereji, of Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt, on the matter filed by the chieftain seeking to address and settle the crises rocking the party in the state.

It would be recalled that Aguma had sought the court to declare the Caretaker Committee brought by the National Working Committee of the party as void, and declare him to head the affairs of the state by virtue of his position as the National Delegate and Statutory member of the party.

After hearing the both counsel submissions, Justice Omereji granted all submissions of the claimant’s counsel, Echezona Etiaba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, and declared that Aguma had the locus standi to approach the court. He added that there was issue of injustice and violation of civil right of the applicant.

On issues of jurisdiction as raised by the defendants counsel, Emenike Ebete, Omereji held that the court has the right to entertain the matter to see whether the rights of the claimants have been violated, adding that defendants have not established that the claimant have no locus standi and had provided no evidence to show that he (Aguma) did not exhaust all the avenues in the party before approaching the court.

He also ruled that the suit was not an abuse of the court process, because he only requested that the APC rules should be followed, noting that the claimant being a former member of House of Representatives meets the requirements of a statutory member.

He ruled that no section of the APC constitution prohibits the statutory members of the party not to carry out the duties of the State Executive Committee in their absence, noting that in the case such lacuna that will warrant the setting up of the Committee by the National body of the party has not arisen because there was still the State Executive Committee of the party in the state.

He held: “It is my view that the appointment of the caretaker of the Committee without inclusion of the national delegate and SEC is a violation of the party’s constitution. All the National Convention Delegates and State Executive Committee members should be part of the caretaker Committee.”

He noted that the tenure of the caretaker committee of the party elapsed in September, noting that the continuous stay of the caretaker Committee is null and void, even he described it as fatal.

Omereji, who granted all the prayers of the claimant, Aguma, held that the decision of the court should be given immediate effect to enable the second party to rebuild itself.

Meanwhile, the court has ordered the party to allow all members of the party loyal to Sen. Magnus Abe who purchased form for the congresses of the party in 2018 to take part in the process.

Ruling on the matter brought by Dele Moses and nine others, Omereji held that only those who purchased the form to participate in the annulled Congresses of the party in the state should participate in the Congresses to be rescheduled by the party.

The judge granted all six prayers of the applicants, ruling that the court can interfere in the internal affairs of the party when the party constitution are not followed.

He held that democracy would be effective in the country when the parties have internal democracy, noting that the suit by Moses and others is justiceable.

He ruled that all the candidates and those excluded in the cancelled Congresses are automatically to be allowed to participate in the process.

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