A Federal High Court in Owerri, Imo State, has annulled the wards and local government congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.

In a ruling on Thursday, Lewis Allagoa, the presiding judge, held that the congresses never held in the state in May.

The Imo chapter of the party has been enmeshed in crisis, leading to factions headed by Gov Rochas Okorocha, and his deputy, Eze Madumere.

The anti-Okorocha faction had claimed victory in the congresses.

But Allagoa ordered that fresh congresses should be conducted, urging the party “to be responsible, save our democracy by conducting free and fair congresses in Imo state”.

The presiding judge held that his court had jurisdiction to hear the case, while he dismissed the motion filed by the defendants.

Allegoa said the exhibits tendered by the plaintiffs, suggesting that there was no ward congress in the state on May 5, were factual.

“APC should go and be responsible and save our democracy. The defendants and the plaintiffs are members of the same political party, APC. There is no victor, no vanquished,” he said.

The Okorocha faction had approached the court seeking, among other things, a “declaration that the ward congress of the APC in Imo State which was fixed for May 5 was inconclusive and did not hold, since there was no result therefrom.”

In his reaction to the ruling, Okorocha lauded the judgment.

Okorocha in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, said the judgement has vindicated his stand on the controversial congress.

“The judgment of the court on the issue of APC congresses in Imo has only authenticated my sustained claim and that of patriotic leaders of APC in Imo that the congresses did not hold in the state with a lot of proofs to that effect”

The governor argued further that “the judiciary has remained not only the last hope of the common man, but also the last hope of institutions and processes especially as they concern our democracy”.

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He said some former national officers of the party, had for one reason or the other, decided to mess up the congresses that would have taken place in the state.

According to him, they also ignored his genuine concern and repeated appeal that the congresses should be conducted to enable party members in the state fully participate and elect officials of their choice.

“Imo is the only APC state in the South-East and should have been encouraged to have successful congresses, to show good example to other states in the geo-political zone. But regrettably those who had the task of conducting free and fair congresses decided to submerge the whole venture for their selfish agenda”, he noted.

The governor commended members of APC in the state for “remaining calm and steadfast for all the time the controversies over the congresses were on'' and noted that the court has ''restored the desire of party members to elect officers of their choice at all levels in the state.”

“Anybody determined to play his or her politics in APC must do so in line with the provisions of the party’s constitution and also in line with approved democratic culture and practices”, he concluded.

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