The Supreme Court on Thursday, upheld the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Kano Division delivered on Aug. 10, which affirmed Mr Victor Oye as the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, (APGA).
The Oye faction of the party conducted the primary that produced Prof. Charles Soludo, as it’s governorship candidate for the Nov. 6, governorship election in Anambra.
Soludo’s nomination had been accepted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as candidate of APGA in the Nov. 6 governorship poll.
Mr Jude Okeke, however, challenged the authenticity of the Oye leadership at a Federal High Court in Jigawa where Judgment was given in his favour.
However, the Jigawa judgment was set aside by the Appeal Court leading him to proceed to the Supreme Court to nullify the appellate court’s decision.
Delivering judgment in the appeal, the apex court in a unanimous judgment held that the internal issue of political parties’ was outside the jurisdiction of courts.
The court consequently upheld the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which resolved the leadership tussle of APGA in favor of Oye and also upheld the primary election conducted by his leadership which produced Soludo as APGA governorship candidate for the Nov. 6 governorship election.
Justice Hamma Zamani of the Kano Division of the Court of Appeal had on Aug. 10 in his judgment, set aside the judgment of a Jigawa High Court, which had earlier declared Jude Okeke and Chukwuma Umeoji as APGA’s National Chairman and governorship candidate respectively.
The appellate court held that the trial court erred by entertaining a suit wherein it lacked jurisdiction.
In their unanimous decision, the seven member panel, resolved the issue against the appellant.
The apex court in the judgment delivered by Justice Mary Odili, held that it was clear that the appellant engaged in abuse of judicial process.
According to Odili, the subject matter of the suit is not justiciable because it bothers on the internal matters of a political party.
Justice Odili said that the appellant engaged in forum shopping by taking a matter which emanated from Anambra all the way to a court in Jigawa.
The panel of justices also berated lawyers to the appellant for engaging in unethical conduct by filing such a suit in the first place.
The justices also berated the judge of the Jigawa High Court for accepting to hear the suit that was outside his jurisdiction saying that he engaged in judicial misconduct.
The panel thereby awarded a fine of N1 million against the appellant for abuse of court process.
Meanwhile, the panel held that the application for joinder by Chief Edozie Njoku was irrelevant since it had been overtaken by events and consequently dismissed it.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja had in September ordered INEC to recognize Soludo as candidate of the APGA in the Nov. 6 Anambra governorship elections.
The three member panel of justices headed by President of the Appeal Court, Justice Monica Dongban -Mensem had also declared Victor Oye as National Chairman of APGA.
Justice Jummai Sankey while delivering ruling on the appeal filed against Sylvester Ezeokenwa and five others, held in a unanimous decision that the appeal constituted an abuse of court process, having been bound by the decision of the Kano division of Court of Appeal that affirmed Oye as APGA national chairman.
The panel said it lacked jurisdiction to do what the appeal by Mr Edozie Njoku and Chinedu Okoro was seeking as it could not sit on appeal on its previous decision.
The sum of N10million was awarded against the appellants, in favour of Sylvester Ezeokenwa and APGA who were the first and second respondents in the appeal.