An Abia High Court sitting at Okpuala Ngwa and presided over by Justice C. U. Okoroafor has sacked the executive of the All Progressives Congress (APC), led by Donatus Nwankpa.
Nwankpa is replaced by Dr Emmanuel Aguzie Ndukwe.
The suit was brought by Fabian Okonkwo, Chris Okpechi and Onyebuchi Igodo against APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Donatus Nwankpa and three others.
The order asked APC, Odigie-Oyegun, Alh. Mai Mala Bunu and Dr Muz Banire to stop dealing with the Nwankpa and Menyechi Onuoha and other members of the Abia executive pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
The order said: “The first to fourth respondents are restrained from dealing with the factional list of state, LGA and ward delegates sent to the national secretariat of the APC in Abuja by Nwankpa led state Exco in any manner until the substantive suit is determined.’’
Ndukwe accused Nwankpa of allegedly collecting funds from moneybags in the state in the name of the party and thereafter making leaders against the rules of the APC.
He said: “In view of his actions which are against the party, the party met on November 25, 2017 and suspended him and later went to court, which granted an order restraining the national office of our party and others to stop recognising him as Abia APC chairman”.
“By this court order which is in our possession we are now the authentic and recognized Exco of APC in the state until the court order is vacated by a court of competent jurisdiction.”
On the question about the APC rally in the state where Nwankpa was recognised as the state chairman, Ndukwe said: “We are a law abiding party even when the national office was deceived to condone illegality, which we allowed as we don’t want to be seen as a divided house.
“However, that supposed rally you are talking about was not a rally as to us it never took place, how many national officers were there, to us there was no such rally as it was never in our history that such a rally ever took place in our state.
“Before now, after our harmonisation the two sides were asked to produce officers and Nwankpa’s side brought him as chairman while I came in as secretary and I am supposed to be the engine room of the party but was never allowed to function.
“Nwankpa hijacked the part structure and started holding meetings with people who are not members of our party and whose names do not appear on any party register and he has also been holding meetings with ward chairmen of the faction that produced him.
“We are going to hold our NEC meeting today, which I will attend as the state chairman and any attempt to stop me from being there as the state chairman will mean contempt of court, which is a liable offence.”
Ndukwe observed that the order will not divide the party, rather it has brought unity, and it’s an impetus to work harder and take the state in 2019.
He noted that since the court judgment on March 18, “there has been jubilation within and outside the party as most members have been very uncomfortable with the high handedness of the former chairman