For the umpteenth time, I am constrained to respond to Odo Ijere’s theatrics solely because facts need to be stated and not tweaked. It is obvious, by his latest outburst, that, aside that Dr. Uche Ogah has long become their nightmare, he is playing the Devil’s advocate just to justify his pay from a paymaster, widely known for failed political endeavours. 2003 to 2022 is a case in point.
The lone issue that characterizes his latest write-up is that, APC, as a political party, and not the court, should determine and resolve the Abia gubernatorial candidacy issue, being internal affair of the party. His diatribe, wrongly descended on the judiciary, the same institution that your pay master ran to, for a failed salvation of his candidacy that never existed in the first place.
Notwithstanding that your piece was riddled with envy and disappointment because your selfish political calculation has been nutted, credit must be given to you (Mr. Ijere) for at least, acknowledging in your piece that Dr. Uche Ogah (your nightmare) “triumphantly entered Abia State dancing with a motley crowd of supporters and talking of starting his campaigns”. It was indeed an apt reportage of what happened right from the airport to Umu-Ikah junction to Umuahia. The political atmosphere in Abia State has changed for good. The legion of supporters and admirers are evident of Dr. Uche Ogah’s acceptance in Abia State and which your paymaster can never boast of in his entire failed political sojourn.
I submit that the very mischief that Section 84(14) of the Electoral Act (2022) seeks to address is your type of vain and offensive argument where a political party would organize primaries, get aspirants to participate therein and spend their resources, only to turn around and unilaterally decide to foist another person as the winner of the primaries in which they did not emerge as the winner.
For purposes of clarity, Section 84 (14) of the Electoral Act is reproduced hereunder:
“Notwithstanding the provisions of this Act or Rules of a political party, an aspirant who complains that any of the provisions of this Act and the guidelines of a political party have not been complied with in the selection or nomination of a candidate of a political party for election, may apply to the Federal High Court for redress”
The operating phrase from the foregoing provision of the Electoral Act is “notwithstanding the provisions of…Rules of a political party…” It suggests that, in spite of “internal affair” rules of a political party, an aspirant can seek the intervention and protection of the Court for their candidacy to be determined by the court. How and where did Dr. Uche Ogah err?
Rather, your paymaster Ikechi Emenike erred (substantially) by disregarding clear provisions of the law and embarked on a wild goose chase where he is doomed for political retirement. First, he approached a State High Court (Umunneochi Division) in total disobedience to the clear provisions of the extant Statute. Kindly do a re-read of Section 84 (14) and discover your paymaster’s folly. Secondly, he averred that his grouse (in order to deceive the court) was predicated on a non-pre-election matter. Thirdly, he trumpeted that he emerged as winner from indirect mode of primary election whereas APC communicated its directive for a direct mode of primaries in Abia, Benue and Osun States respectively.
Fourthly, he lied on oath that his emergence was monitored by INEC. Therefore, when, on the basis of such wrongly obtained State High Court and Court of Appeal’s verdict, his name was submitted to INEC, it is indeed no brainer to submit, that there could not be worse violation of the provisions of any known Statute as regards electoral process in Nigeria at the moment.
Your paymaster (Ikechi Emenike) has been making futile allusions that Federal High Court cannot interfere in the internal affairs of the APC in the determination of who between Dr. Uche Ogah and himself is the bonafide gubernatorial candidate of the party for the 2023 general election whereas he approached the Abia State High Court for temporary protection. Is he allowed to reprobate and approbate too? Time shall tell. And Ikechi Emenike has been boasting that, he already has Court of Appeal judgment that affirmed his candidacy (an appeal in which Dr. Uche Ogah was never a party), he is then challenged to not appeal against the judgment of the Federal High Court which affirmed Dr. Uche Ogah as the valid candidate of the APC for gubernatorial election. Your paymaster’s political history is characterized by impunity, lawlessness and penchant for not playing by the rule. He has met more than a match in Dr. Uche Ogah. Again, mark today’s date.
On this score, therefore, your poisoned chalice in the form of unsolicited “counsel that courts cannot resolve the APC problems and that political settlement should be pursued out of court” is tainted with evil and is characteristically undeserving of attention as well. May I refer you and your paymaster to the case of AGI v PDP & ORS (2016) LPELR-42578 (SUPREME COURT): “…rules of the party must be obeyed by all members of the party as the party’s decision is final over its affairs…The court will only interfere where the party has violated its own rules. (underlining is mine for emphasis). Thus, unlike you, Mr. Ijere’s self-contrived theory that courts cannot resolve a political party’s problems, in situation like this where a political party chose to go against its own rules, only courts can resolve the logjam.
It therefore follows that, the reason why your paymaster approached a State High Court (though court without jurisdiction) appears the same reason why Dr. Uche Ogah approached a Federal High Court-properly clothed with jurisdiction in electoral matters in Nigeria. The current electoral regime makes it a safer route for judicial intervention in similar situations highlighted above.
In Dr. Uche Ogah’s case, APC adopted direct mode of primaries and communicated same to both the INEC and the Abia State chapter of the party on 25th May 2022. INEC received the letter and acted on it by monitoring the direct primaries held in Abia on 26th May, 2022. It filed its report therefrom and certified same. It went ahead to file affidavit of fact in the Federal High Court where it deposed that Dr. Uche Ogah emerged as winner in the direct mode of primaries conducted by the APC in Abia State.
I now challenge you, Mr. Odo Ijere, to produce any certified INEC report for the monitoring of your purported indirect primaries where Ikechi Emenike emerged. Of course, none exists and so shall it be. Therefore, your self-contrived and puerile allusion that “INEC will shoot itself on the leg upholding such judicial rascality knowing that upholding such rogue pronouncement will contradict its well (sic) established earlier position at the Appeal Court as to who’s primary election was in its books” is a non-starter.
I totally agree with you that “INEC cannot approbate and reprobate at the same time in law” for which its report that it monitored the direct mode of primaries whereat Dr. Uche Ogah emerged the candidate of the party is the only certified report upon which the court made its findings before arriving at its well-considered judgment. Be it known unto you this day that, INEC never had earlier position that legitimized your purported indirect primaries. INEC’s affidavit of fact is one and the same which confirmed that Abia APC held direct mode of primaries whereat Dr. Uche Ogah emerged winner. The said INEC’s certified report says that all other candidates for other positions in Abia APC emerged via direct mode of primaries. Why is your paymaster the only one still clamouring for indirect primaries or is it a case of betrayal where both Senatorial and House of Representative candidates in Abia APC surreptitiously subjected themselves to direct mode of primaries and left your paymaster to wallow in self-destruct in the guise of chasing a dead-end via a purported indirect primary that was never authorised by the party? Can a political party adopt different modes of primaries for separate positions in the same state? The answer straightaway is a capital NO because it is trite that, by the provisions of the Electoral Act, a political party can only adopt one mode of primaries and not two at the same time.
The INEC report is a public document which you can as well procure for record-keeping and for saner clarification. Again, it should be noted that in your purported actions at both the State High Court and the Court of Appeal, INEC never had legal representation unlike at the Federal High Court in Dr. Uche’s Ogah’s case where INEC fully and properly filed affidavit of fact. I also challenge you to produce document that confirms INEC’s legal representation in your cases in court.
it is to be noted with deep regrets your attempt to make certain insinuations against a judgment order properly handed down by court of competent jurisdiction. This is found to be unnecessary and unfortunate. But it should be reckoned with that, enforcement of judgement order is entirely for court to determine not yours.
Dear Mr. Ijere, need I remind you that, era of impunity by political parties is gone for good. For, if political parties were still supreme, Yobe North Senatorial candidacy would not have been tampered with by the court. Or need I remind you of the recent Court of Appeal judgment nullifying the candidacy of Senator Akpabio? In these two cited cases, APC’s preferred candidates were sacked by courts because, like your paymaster’s penchant for impunity, INEC did not monitor the primaries that produced the alleged winners. Why were these two cases and many others not treated as internal affairs of the party where political settlement would have been employed to settle the issues? Your paymaster is another victim. Mark today’s date.
The conspiracy of fraud by your paymaster, Ikechi Emenike and some bad elements to attempt to legitimize his purported indirect primaries via a back-dated letter was dead on arrival. INEC received the said letter on 16th June, 2022 whereas your paymaster claimed that his purported indirect primaries held on 26th May, 2022. Did it not mean that INEC received letter for your paymaster’s indirect primaries in Abia 21 days after the said primaries which INEC was statutorily mandated to monitor and file its report? By INEC’s timetable, all political parties’ primaries (except those ordered by courts) ended 3rd June, 2022. Have you not seen the folly in your paymaster’s vain pursuit?
My dear Mr. Ijere, Okpotemba of Ohafia, I should afford you a very invaluable counsel as a brother. It is better that you advised your paymaster to stop running from pillar to post as far as this Abia APC gubernatorial candidacy is concerned. Dr. Uche Ogah is the valid and authentic candidate of the party for 2023 general election. Issues of party’s candidacy are no longer internal affair of a political party which political settlement can cure so long as a political party breached its rule. Courts now determine them with the aid of the electoral umpire’s report.
Okpotemba of Ohafia, kindly re-tell your paymaster that, the train had long left the station.
Sent in by Ndubueze Okoli, a lawyer and public affairs analyst