- Igo Aguma Faults Ruling
By Abiola Olawale
The Supreme Court, on Friday gave its judgement on the chairmanship crisis rocking the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), declaring Isaac Abbot-Ogbogbula as the Chairman of the APC in the state.
The Apex Court dismissed the appeal of Hon. Igo Aguma recognising Ogbubula as the Party’s chairman in the state.
Aguma has been loyal to the Senator Magnus Abe’s faction of the Rivers APC, while Ogbogbula is a diehard Amaechi’s man as the clash between both factions took center stage in recent months.
Recall Aguma, had filed a suit against the Court of Appeal judgment that set aside the decision of the High Court, which had earlier declared him the Caretaker Committee Chairman of the party in the state.
The appeal court sacked Aguma as the caretaker committee chairman of the APC on the grounds that it is the exclusive rights of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the APC to make any appointment, in compliance with the party’s constitution.
Aguma rejected the judgment, arguing that since the subject matter of the case was already at the Supreme Court, the court of appeal overreached itself by giving the judgment.
However, Honorable Justice Amina Augie, who led a five-member panel of justices, upheld the ruling of the Appeal Court, on the grounds that a political party has the right over its own affairs.
Delivering the judgement, Augie, declared Abbot-Ogbogbula as the chairman of the APC in Rivers State.
The judgement reads, “A political party is supreme over its own affairs. The Appeal is meritoriou. Onuoha v. Okafor; A party is like a club with voluntary membership to be so bound by its own rules. The issue of leadership is an internal domestic affair and the jurisdiction of the court is ousted. The subject matter of the Appeal is not justifiable. The cross Appeal is struck out.”
Reacting to the judgement, Aguma, has resigned his membership of the party.
Aguma, in a statement, revealed that his decision to leave the party is premised on his political future.
The Statement reads, “I have received the Supreme Court judgement which dismissed my Appeal challenging the Court of Appeal’s decision which upturned the High Court judgement that declared me as Acting Chairman of APC in Rivers State. It is now clear that it is not within the purview of the Court to protect the rights and privileges of members of a political party, in this case, the APC. It is the APC that should protect the rights of her members but has failed to do so. I cannot continue to be a member of a political party that endangers and does not give any form of protection to the rights of its members and has no respect whatsoever for its own constitution at all but chooses to be run against democratic principles for self-destructive purposes. Therefore, I announce my exit from the All Progressives Congress immediately. To God be the glory.”
Similarly, Livingstone Wechie, a member of the Agamu-led faction in a statement, exited the APC, describing the judgement of the supreme Court as unhealthy.
The statement reads, “I see this development as an unhealthy judicial precedent which should be intellectually interrogated moving forward. Also, it is dangerous for politics and political party democracy in Nigeria that for any reason, the jurisdiction of the court should be ultimately ousted as it affects grievances by party members not minding political party’s arbitrariness which the court ought to restrict in the interest of our democracy in Nigeria. Regrettably, the APC that preaches respect for the rule of Law rather than protect the said rights of her members as enshrined has failed to do so and celebrates the violation of its own constitution traditionally. Therefore, I announce my exit from the All Progressives Congress immediately. This is my decision.”