Forty-one members of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Enugu State have been expelled from the party for allegedly violating the party’s constitution.
The announcement was made on Sunday by the Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee in the state, Dr. Ben Nwoye, while addressing journalists.
According to Nwoye, the members expelled themselves from the party by filing a suit in court without first exhausting the internal mechanisms as provided in the APC Constitution.
The affected persons include a former Speaker of the Enugu State House of Assembly, Eugene Odo, a former military governor, Group Capt. Joe Orji, a former deputy governorship candidate of the party in the state, Prince Chikwado Chukwunta, Gen. J. O. J. Okoloagu, a former member of the House of Representatives, Chukwuemeka Ujam.
The party members had asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to remove Nwoye from office.
Meanwhile, Article 21 (D), Section V of the APC Constitution provides that, “Any member who files an action in court of law against the party or any of its officers on any matters relating to the discharge of the duties of the party without first exhausting the avenues for the redress provided for in this Constitution shall automatically stand expelled from the party on filing such action and no appeal against expulsion as stipulated in this clause shall be entertained until the withdrawal of the action from court by the member.”
In the suit No: FCT/HC/CV/2107/2021, they had sought an ex parte order to stop Nwoye from parading himself as the chairman of the party.
Justice Sylvanus Chinedu Oriji refused to grant the interlocutory injunction but instead ordered that the motion on notice and the entire case be assigned to a regular court at the end of vacation for full determination of the matter.
“The Defendants/Respondents shall be put on notice of the application for injunction. The orders sought in the ex parte application No. M/5317/2021 are refused,” the Judge held.
Nwoye, however noted that 41 members who filed the suit had automatically expelled themselves from the party.
“I arrived at my home and I found a copy of a lawsuit pasted on my door, within that lawsuit is an order sought by the applicants but was denied by the court.
“One Prince Gilbert Chikwado Chukwunta and 40 others filed a claim against me; they sought an ex parte order before an FCT High Court, seeking to remove me as the chairman of the party in Enugu State.
“They sued me and alleged among other things that I was suspended by certain persons, who they attached their signatures, but the learned jurist denied giving the order. He directed them to serve me, but instead of serving me as ordered by the court, they pasted it on my door.
“But what is important is that for those who said that Ben Nwoye has been removed, the removal of Ben Nwoye is now a subject of court, and the court has refused to remove me. I wasn’t there but the learned judge refused to remove me.
“The other point is that the petition which they signed, they forged numerous people’s signatures; one of the people they forged their signature is Mrs. Kate Offor, she never signed a petition seeking to remove me.
“We also had many other people claiming to be members of State exco, and one of such persons are Eugene Odo. Enugu State APC is no longer running on SEC; it is a caretaker committee, so being a former Speaker does not make Eugene Odo a member of APC caretaker committee. Gen. J.O.J. Okoloagu is also not a member of the caretaker committee, so also the former member of the House, Hon. Chukwuemeka Ujam, who they alleged signed, he has never been and is not a member of state exco (executive council), we also have one Anayo Ene, we also have Group Capt. Orji, Dr. Mrs. Chukwuani, Hyacinth Nsude, are not members of APC caretaker committee.
“If indeed these individuals did not sign it, those who filed this suit have committed forgery. But if those individuals say that they actually signed it, they have committed fraud because they are not members of APC caretaker committee and that includes Chikwado Chukwunta.
“Recall that Chikwado Chukwunta ran for Deputy Governor of Enugu State in 2019. After he lost, he went away, he never received a waiver before he ran, so, resigned his position. And when the exco was dissolved, Chikwado Chukwunta was never sworn-in as a member of APC caretaker committee.
“These are facts Senator Ken Nnamani and others are hiding to be deceiving the public. Having said that, the status of my chairmanship is now before the court, no one can interfere in my chairmanship, the court has already ruled by denying them the attempt to remove me.
“The next thing is that they have now all expelled themselves from the party; they were deceived into dragging an officer of the party to court.
“All these individuals by the operations of the constitution have expelled themselves from the party because they did not exhaust the internal alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
“They are 41 persons and Chikwado Chukwunta put up an affidavit that he has their consent to file the suit. All of them are now expelled from the party.”