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HomeLatest newsIt’s wrong for Soludo to attack Obi – APGA chieftain Njoku

It’s wrong for Soludo to attack Obi – APGA chieftain Njoku



Edozie Njoku

Former National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Chief Edozie Njoku, shares his views with DIRISU YAKUBU on the feud with Chief Victor Oye and other issues

Many Nigerians are worried that APGA has not been able to deploy its internal conflict resolution mechanism to resolve the leadership crisis between you and Chief Victor Oye. Why are the stakeholders in your party silent while the crisis lingers?

You are very correct. This is what we have been fighting to end in APGA. APGA was turned to a party of sort because we have only had one governor most of the time in Anambra State. Many leaders were being looked after from Government House, Awka. They normally gave out cars, monthly fees and all that. I don’t have anything against that. But what it has done is that some people have been watching closely where the governor’s leg is. If the governor is moving in a wrong direction, it becomes very difficult for them to speak up. All of them are aware that the truth is on our side; all of them are aware that every single thing we are doing is the correct thing, but when the man who is buttering the bread is on the other side, it makes it very difficult for their intervention.

By virtue of the bad political leadership of Victor Oye and Willy Obiano, most political stakeholders ran off to other political parties. They have their hands in what is going on in the party, but they will be the first to deny. The crisis in APGA was over the very day the Supreme Court gave judgment. That was why Oye peacefully nominated Charles Soludo and that was why we successfully swore in the governor because the crisis was over. But the fact that a governor has taken his seat doesn’t mean that I, who won, should not go to my own seat.

The Supreme Court made a mistake in its judgment, and we requested them to review the judgment because a mistake was made. So, we called and requested and pleaded for the Supreme Court to look at their judgment again because a mistake was made. They looked into it and rectified the error. And not just that they have come out to say that that error was rectified, we’ve already got our enrolment order four months after the lead judge had retired. The second in command did sign our enrolment order which is an enforcement order for us.

After all that has been done, Chief Victor Oye still went ahead to call both the amendment and the letter from the retired chief judge fake to the extent that we have been charged to court for forgery and all kinds of things. The makers of the document said it is not us, we didn’t fake anything. You saw the letter he wrote to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, saying that ‘Njoku is fraudulent; I faked this and faked that’. It is not good to be doing things like this simply because a judgement is against you.

Is the working committee you lead ready to settle this in the interest of the party considering the fact that elections are just a few months away? Can you team up with Victor Oye to build a stronger APGA for Nigeria?

You see, politics is politics and when you are going into any negotiations, you must think of the interest of the people. Whatever negotiation we are going into, we must be treated as the major party because we have the Supreme Court judgment on our side. After the Federal High Court said that our convention was the proper convention, I came out and said that I was prepared to step down and that Oye should step down so that we could find someone else to lead the party. I stated this on Arise TV. While they were doing their primaries, we did ours. So, all those people who went through the motion of the primary on our side, are you saying that they should just go home?  You see, it is more complicated than that, and it is something that needs us sitting down on a round table and deciding the way forward because we can’t hide our heads in the sand and think that by shouting, insulting people and placing allegations on them and taking them to court on false charges will change anything. It doesn’t work that way.

What happens if the Independent National Electoral Commission fails to accord you this recognition you crave?

INEC has no option because we are talking with them, and they are sounding more positive now. It has been brought to their attention that when I was removed by the lower court by suspension and Jude Okeke was brought up by the court as the national chairman by that same court in Jigawa, Jude Okeke was instantly recognised by INEC. On that same case, Oye went to the Court of Appeal and the trajectory of errors the lead judge was talking about started. From nowhere, Oye was imported into the judgment and that was how he took over as APGA National Chairman. When we now got up to the Supreme Court, the apex court said the case had been dismissed entirely and that we should revert to the status quo and (Justice Mary) Odili herself as the lead judge said my removal was not justice-able. That was not an ambiguous statement but a clear statement in judgment.

Where is Jude Okeke in all these?

Jude Okeke was a member of our party, but you know in the convention in which Chekwas Okorie emerged the presidential candidate, he and four others were expelled; the National Working Committee expelled them for all the problems they caused the party.

Victor Oye has constantly maintained that Justice Odili ought not to have written to you personally. This is why he is insisting that the letter did not emanate from the retired Supreme Court judge.

All the retired Supreme Court Justice did was that she replied my mail addressed to her because she was the lead judge that effected the correction on the judgment. She copied the CJN reminding him that she was a member of the panel. She also pointed out that though now retired, the correction of the judgment is real. Is Oye saying she shouldn’t have replied my letter because she is now retired?

A few months ago, notable politicians like Enyinnaya Abaribe, Frank Nweke Jnr, among others joined APGA. Have you reached out to them for possible intervention in the crisis?

The reason these people are not reaching out to me yet is because I have not been recognised by INEC, but I know that they are members of APGA. As soon as INEC gives us recognition, we will immediately reach out to them because they are our members. At the moment, APGA is only looking factionalised at the top. At the bottom, APGA is APGA. The very minute that INEC gives us recognition, all new members, stakeholders of the party will team up with us for a synergy that will make us the unique party that we are.

Are the aspirants who picked nomination forms from your NWC worried over this development?

They are not worried. When they bought their forms, we didn’t have INEC recognition, but they knew that eventually, we will get it. People from the other side also came over to us to buy their forms because they know where the truth is. If for any reason they know that we are not being treated well, they will speak up.

Anambra State Governor, Charles Soludo, recently ruled out APGA in the race to the Presidency of Nigeria in 2023. According to him, only the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress have what it takes to win the seat. How did you feel listening to a party leader speak in that manner?

I will beg Nigerians, particularly the Igbo, to forgive Soludo. As a politician and as a southeasterner, which Peter Obi is, and as former APGA governor, and bearing in mind that everyone who is going in for an election believes they are going to win, you can’t as an APGA governor tell us that it is only PDP and APC that are likely to win. It also boils down to what is happening in APGA. What is happening in APGA should not be waved away. The issues are serious and should be taken seriously. Sometimes too, when people make statements in the press, it can come out not the way they wanted it. Be that as it may, Soludo’s bluntness was uncalled for. He should have just wished Peter Obi well.

Many Nigerians particularly those of voting age are excited about the New Electoral Act given its provisions of checkmating rigging and electoral irregularities. What fears do you have about the 2023 polls?

Before the involvement of INEC in APGA crisis, I was rating INEC quite highly but with what I’ve seen going on, where members of staff in the Legal Department can give contrary advice; I am afraid because it was the legal department who advised the commission at that point to recognize Jude Okeke, to recognize the Owerri convention. If you check people in the legal department of INEC, there will be need to call on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, to start investigating accounts of people in whose hands we have put our destiny.

Are you alleging financial crimes?

We will start alleging when we investigate and if we find things that are abnormal, we will speak up. We have to start looking at the cars they are driving, the houses they are buying. We should put them on the heat, Nigerians should get up because these are people who are deciding our fate.

For them to recognize the Owerri convention with Jude Okeke instantly and now they are stalling in doing same to me, does it not worry you as a journalist? It is very worrisome. And if for such little things, some characters in the Legal Department can be putting up such stumbling blocks in the way of justice, what do you think can happen to the general elections? We are in trouble.

So, for the first time, I call on the National Chairman of the commission to look deep into his Legal Department and ask them why they gave Jude Okeke recognition on the Owerri convention when they removed Njoku. And now, the Supreme Court has finished the whole case and said that he should go back to his seat, and you are not recognizing him. What kind of report are you writing because you are the ones who wrote it for Jude Okeke. I don’t have anything against INEC, but we need to beam light on them because at the moment, they are very important people in this country who decide whether we go left or we go right.

I’m so uncomfortable that Jude Okeke could suspend me, get the judgment in court in faraway Jigawa State and instantly, INEC gave the Owerri convention the go ahead.

As soon as we got to the Court of Appeal, Oye’s name was imported; one of those things the judge of the Supreme Court described as trajectory of errors. The error started from a case being filed behind my back in Jigawa state, removing me, to the Court of Appeal importing Oye’s name into the judgment of a case he was never part of and then it goes up to the Supreme Court and because there was so much pandemonium there, we are still where we are today. Luckily for us, the Supreme Court did a very wonderful thing, had the decency to rectify their mistake but Oye is there shouting ‘fake’, and INEC is not recognising that same judgment that they recognised at the lower court, recognized at the Court of Appeal and they are not doing it at the Supreme Court.

Nigeria should call them out and ask them, why did you recognize Jude Okeke at the lower court and not Njoku when the Supreme Court has dismissed the matter and have said, and have warned Jude Okeke and Co, that the removal of Chief Edozie Njoku is not justice-able, meaning they could not have even removed me in the first place in court? These are the issues. We can’t be talking about peace when people are deliberately ignoring justice. I love APGA and those who claim they love it as much as I do should demonstrate this passion for the party by standing for truth and justice. I want to use this opportunity to once again appeal to Governor Charles Soludo to intervene in this matter, so that together, we will champion a common front and project our party before Nigerians in the 2023 elections. We can’t be talking about doing the right thing at the national level while internally, APGA is bleeding due to the behaviour of few who believe they will always have their way all the time.

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