By Chimezie Anaso
Awka – With 14 days to Anambra governorship election, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) crisis has again come to the fore as the party’s factions await court’s decision on who the authentic candidate is.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed Nov. 9 for hearing of the matter.
NAN also reports that a faction of the party, led by Dr Victor Oye as National Chairman, had held its primary on Aug. 15 which returned the incumbent governor, Dr Willie Obiano, as its candidate for the Nov. 18 election.
The other faction, led by Chief Martin Agboso as National Chairman, held its primary on Aug. 21 and produced Hygers Igwebuike as its candidate.
Both candidates have been campaigning for the election under the party’s banner.
Chief Azubuike Iloh, a chieftain of the Agbaso faction, says that only the court will determine who the party’s authentic candidate for the election is.
Iloh made the assertion on Friday in Awka while speaking with newsmen on the matter and the party’s chances in the election.
He said that his faction under Agbaso was the one that conducted the authentic governorship primary in the state.
Iloh said the recent order sought by his faction at the Federal High Court Abuja was in view of the fact that the primary which returned Gov. Willie Obiano as APGA candidate was conducted a Mandamus order was still subsisting.
Iloh said that Agbaso was the only legally recognised national chairman of the party who conducted legitimate primary.
“We have no factions in APGA; I am the authentic chairman of APGA in Anambra under the recognised national leadership of Chief Martin Agbaso.
“What we have now are impostors who are parading themselves as leaders and candidate of the party.
“There was a convention in Owerri that ratified Agbaso as the national chairman of party and anybody parading himself as such is doing so at his own peril.
“But some people who believe that APGA belonged to them have refused to recognise the authentic leadership of the party under Agbaso,’’ he said.
“The so-called primary where the incumbent governor was nominated as APGGA governorship candidate is unknown to us.
“The primary known to us is the one we conducted and which returned Hygers Igwebuike as candidate.
“Our candidate has been in the field canvassing for votes, everything is still in the legal palace; by the time the decision is taken, we will know who the authentic candidate is.’’
Iloh said that he was not the person to legally fly the party’s flag, noting they were simply arm twisting his faction but only the law courts with competent jurisdiction would decide the matter.
“It is good that the governor is campaigning for us, he is still a member of our party and he is free to canvass for vote for us, it is the party that is contesting not the individual.
“We had prayed the court to stop Obiano from parading himself as APGA candidate but it declined in its wisdom to grant that order because the court felt it should hear from the other side and he has the right to be heard.
“The matter has been fixed for hearing on Nov. 9 and it is our belief that we will be victorious.
“I call on the people of Anambra to vote for APGA in this election,’’ he said.
Reacting, Chief Ifeatu Obi-Okoye, the National Publicity Secretary of the Victor Oye faction, said the position was ill informed.
Obi-Okoye said that Obiano’s candidacy suffered no legitimacy issues as the primary that returned him met the conditions of the party and electoral guidelines.
He said Obiano was duly nominated and that the argument that his candidacy might be upturned was illogical and fallacious.
“The Order of Mandamus they were referring to is the judgment of High Court of Enugu and extra-jurisdiction of Enugu State.
“That order was subsequently set as side by the Court of Appeal, and the implication of Court of Appeal’s judgment is that the Mandamus Order never existed.
“There was a High Court judgment at Awka, and a second High Court order which emanated from Anambra High Court in Nnewi and those high courts in Anambra as against that High Court if Enugu.
“The nomination of Obiano was done in the state capital as required by the Electoral Act as at that time.
“The process of the nomination of the governorship candidate of APGA was conducted by the National Working Committee of the party, the powers to conduct such exercise does not lie in the chairman that was why the chairman was not even physically present.
“The current action instituted by the Agbaso faction long after the judgment of the Court of Appeal vacated the Mandamus Order on the Aug 31, is a frivolous action and one taken in bad faith.
“The argument is non sequitur and lacks legitimacy,’’ he said. (NAN)