Home » APGA Kano appeal court decision and its everlasting effect on democracy in Nigeria

APGA Kano appeal court decision and its everlasting effect on democracy in Nigeria

The current crises in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has assumed a national status and one that is capable of shaping our national and political life as a nation.

The battle for the soul of the party which has shifted to the Appeal Court, Kano after a plethora of court orders and judgments from High Courts across the country has got many startled, hence the anxious wait by many for the Court of Appeal decision. We have also seen courts of concurrent jurisdiction give conflicting orders/judgments, and also courts in faraway lands outside the territorial jurisdiction give their own judgments. All these have placed a huge burden on the Appeal Court, Kano Division to rise up and do due diligence to the matter before it to send a clear message across our nation.

It is instructive to note that the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) is not new to such leadership crises from the inception of the party till date, especially in every election year in Anambra State, the one state the party governs.

Eight years ago, a High Court sitting in Enugu presided over by the State Chief Judge, Justice Innocent Umezulike (who was later sacked by the National Judicial Council, following reports of alleged involvement in fraud and other corruption related activities)

sacked Chief Victor Umeh as the National Chairman of the party. That judgement brought about the hurried election of Chief Maxi Okwu as the National Chairman of the party, as against the recognised leadership of Chief Victor Umeh who had just two years before then midwifed a National Election for the party and also got a fresh mandate in a properly conducted party congress.

All hell broke loose especially as the then Maxi Okwu faction was backed by the incumbent governor Peter Obi of Anambra State. It took the judgment of the Court of Appeal in a judgment delivered by Justice Yakubu Tom to restore sanity just a few months to the governorship elections when they declared that the party leadership under Chief Victor Umeh was the authentic one, citing that the lower court has no jurisdiction over the matter as the respondent has no locus standi to sue.

Fast forward to four years later in 2017, again just a few months to the Governorship Election and under the Chief Victor Oye leadership, the party was enmeshed in a similar crisis when those who opposed the leadership of Chief Oye, led by Chief Martin Agbaso obtained an order of Mandamus from the Enugu State High Court presided over by Justice A. R. Ozoemena which had declared him the National Chairman of the party. It took the Appeal Court in a lead judgment delivered by Justice Abdul Aboki which resolved that the lower court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the matter in the first place, and also ruled that the refusal to join the appellant as a party in the matter was against fair hearing. He, therefore, struck out the substantive matter for lack of merit.

This is 2021, another Governorship Election year in Anambra State and your guess is as good as mine, politicians are at it again. This time they have become more fierce, ruthless, and all out to destroy the party. An example of such ruthlessness is the journey all the way to Birnin Kudu High Court in Jigawa State to obtain yet another High Court Judgement ousting a duly elected Chief Victor Oye as National Chairman of the party.

At this point, one begins to wonder why the High Court continues to make itself available as a willing tool in the hands of these desperate politicians.

APGA is not new to people who have always sought to arm-twist the judiciary and hijack the leadership of the party through the back door in every election year. Their brazen attacks have always been met with the Appellate Court’s firm decision to stand on the path of justice.

Now, the Kano Appeal Court like the other Appellate Courts did on the 15th of July, 2013 (restoring Chief Victor Umeh) and 17th of August, 2017 (restoring Chief Victor Oye), should take a cue and do the needful by throwing out the judgment of the Jigawa State High Court, and that they should do quickly.

It is important also that the Nigerian Judicial Council (NJC) beams its torchlight on our nation’s High Courts and properly sanitize it.

This is important as the future of our democracy will be greatly shaped by the outcome of this singular judgment, and this is so we do not wake up someday and have just any fellow declare himself either a governor or president and get some High Court judges to declare him as such. That will portend a dangerous outcome for our nation going forward.

We are on the threshold of history yet again as the world beams its searchlight on the Appeal Court to once again stand on the path of justice as the bastion of our nation’s fledgling democracy.

Emmanuel Obieze writes from Ebenebe in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State


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