Nigerian Police Invite AA Party Chairman For Allegedly Refusing To Withdraw Election Petition Against House Of Reps Deputy Speaker, Ben Kalu | #NwokeukwuMascot
The Office of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) monitoring unit has invited the National Chairman of the Action Alliance, Adekunle Omo-Aje for allegedly refusing to withdraw its petition at the appeal court challenging the election of Benjamin Kalu, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Omo-Aje had filed a notice of appeal challenging the judgement of the National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal in Umuahia, Abia State which upheld the election of Kalu.
The party had petitioned the tribunal following the failure of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to upload the name of its candidate submitted for Bende federal constituency of Abia state.
The party had chosen Ifeanyi Chukwuka as its candidate for the constituency.
In his address, Daniel Anya, counsel for the AA candidate had asked the tribunal to annul Kalu’s election over the exclusion of the party’s (AA) name and logo from the ballot during the poll.
However, the tribunal in two conflicting court judgments upheld the election of the deputy speaker.
While the petition was filed by the Omo-Aje-led leadership of the AA, the three-member panel of judges led by Samson Paul-Gang in its judgement reportedly dismissed the case because another faction of the party led by one Kenneth Udeze said it never filed or authorise anyone to initiate any legal action against Kalu.
The first judgement released by it noted that the case was dismissed after the petitioner and AA called for its withdrawal.
Another judgement released by the lower court two days later revealed that it was dismissed because of the factional chairman’s application, Udeze.
Not satisfied, the AA led by Omo-Aje approached the appellate court.
In a letter dated October 5, 2023, with reference number: CR: 3000/CIU/FIB/FHQ/ABJ/VOLT/389 and addressed to the AA chairman, the police invited Omo-Aje to come to its office in Abuja on Thursday (12-10-2023) for questioning.
He was accused of criminal conspiracy, impersonation, forgery and threat to life.
A source however told SaharaReporters on Thursday night that Omo-Aje refused to honour the invitation over fear of being detained.
“No, he wasn’t at the police headquarters today, we understood the deputy speaker’s plan which was to detain the chairman so he will not be able to present in the court of appeal.
“After SaharaReporters published the first story, the deputy speaker reached out and begged Omo-Aje to withdraw the case in court. He also accused him of embarrassing him on SaharaReporters and asked him to make a rejoinder over the report but the Chairman refused,” a top member of AA told SaharaReporters.
“Kalu sent different monarchs, politicians and others to him but he turned all down and insisted the case won’t be withdrawn nor issue any rejoinder through SaharaReporters or any media organisation.
“This was how he begged as well when we filled the petition at the tribunal, knowing we didn’t dance to his tune, he used our former national chairman, Kenneth Udeze, whom has been expelled from the party to go to the tribunal and withdraw the case despite the fact that he was not the one that filed the matter.
“He took another person to the tribunal to bear the name of our candidate in the election together with Kenneth to withdraw the case. That is the reason we appealed the matter. He doesn't want the chairman to appear in the court of appeal. The reason he wants him jailed and the best security agency to use is the police.”
AA had been engulfed in a leadership crisis before the 2023 general elections.
In a judgment delivered on November 4, 2022, Justice Zainab Abubakar of the Federal High Court asked INEC to recognise Omo-Aje as the party's national chairman.
The court also ordered INEC to discountenance all the candidates submitted to it by Udeze, who was sacked as the party’s chairman by another court.