A Federal High court in Owerri Imo state has on Thursday, nullified the purported ward congress conducted by a faction of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Imo state on May 5, 2018.
The presiding judge, Justice Lewis Allagoa while delivering the judgment that lasted for one hour, said that, after listening to all the counsels, there is obvious evidence that no ward congress held on the scheduled date as all the defendants in the suit all have different names of the result sheet.
The judge who dismissed a motion filed by the defendants insisted that his court had jurisdiction to hear the matter.
He said one of the video evidence exhibit tendered to the court by the plaintiffs clearly suggested that there was no ward congress in the state on that day and the widely circulated recorded “press interview between the state Commissioner of Police, the Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha and Senator Osita Izunaso at the latter’s residence is also a pointer that no congress held on the scheduled date which is justiciable in law.”
The Judge also sighted a report of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which confirmed that there was no APC ward congress in Imo state on May 5.
Justice Allagoa, however, ordered APC to fix a new date for the ward, local and state congresses in the state as both defendants and plaintiffs are members of the same political party.
Meanwhile, the Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha has hailed the Federal High Court Judgment which nullified All Progressives Congress (APC) Congresses in the state.
Okorocha in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, remarked that “the Judgment of the Court on the issue of APC congresses in Imo has only authenticated his sustained claim and that of patriotic leaders of APC in Imo that the congresses did not hold in the state with a lot of proofs to that effect”
The governor argued further that “the judiciary has remained not only the last hope of the common man, but also the last hope of institutions and processes especially as they concern our democracy”.
He regretted that the former National officers of the party, had for one reason or the other decided to mess up the congresses that would have taken place in the state and had also ignored his genuine concern and repeated appeal that the congresses should be conducted to enable party members in the state fully participate and elect officials of their choice.
The governor noted that “Imo is the only APC state in the South-East and should have been encouraged to have successful congresses, to show good example to other states in the geo-political zone but regretted that those who had the task of conducting free and fair congresses decided to submerge the whole venture for their selfish agenda.
The governor commended members of APC in the state for “remaining calm and steadfast for all the time the controversies over the congresses were on and noted that the court has restored the desire of party members to elect officers of their choice at all levels in the state”.
He vowed APC in Imo will not tolerate those undue manipulations of electoral processe, adding that “anybody determined to play his or her politics in APC must do so in line with the provisions of the party’s constitution and also in line with approved democratic culture and practices”.