Abia APC leadership tussle : Scores wounded as thugs invade court
By Steve Oko
The lingering leadership tussle rocking the Abia State chapter of the All Progressive Congresses, APC, took a dangerous twist Wednesday as thugs invaded the State High sitting at Okpuala Ngwa where the matter was to be heard.
Hon. Donatus Nwankpa, and Dr. Emmanuel Ndukwe are both laying claims to the chairmanship of the party, hence the court action to determine the authentic leadership.
While Ndukwe’s faction produced Chief Ikechi Emenike as the governorship candidate, Dr. Uche Ogah is the governorship flag bearer of Nwankpa -led state executive.
The court was billed to hear the motion filed by Hon Nwankpa and other respondents seeking to transfer the case to another court, and another motion filed by the plaintiffs seeking to nullify every action taken by Nwankpa after the court had issued an order sacking him from office.
Trouble started when thugs suspected to be loyal to one of the factions invaded the court premises Wednesday and attempted members of the other faction from accessing the premises.
The other faction was said to have quickly mobilised its own thugs to the venue for a show down.
As tension mounted, the presiding judge, Justice Collinton Okoroafor was forced to stay away from the court.
The situation got out of control as more thugs were ferried into the premises.
The charged situation grew worse when some of the fierce-looking thugs wearing masks engaged others from the opposing faction in free for all fight using machetes and other dangerous weapons.
In the ensuing melee, the state Publicity Secretary of the Dr Ndukwe led faction, Engr Mike Ozoemana was beaten to pulp and his Toyota 4 Runner jeep seized.
Scores of people from both factions reportedly sustained machete cuts.
The AUTHOURITY recalls that Justice Okoroafor had in March 8, 2018 issued an order restraining Nwankpa from parading himself as the chairman of Abia APC pending the determination of the case brought against him by aggrieved party members.
The court order also restrained the then national Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun from recognizing Nwankpa as chairman.
Nwankpa who had then dismissed the court order as “kangaroo court order and a nullity” later attempted to set it aside but failed in that bid.
Meanwhile one of the factions had cried foul over the alleged removal of the case file without the knowledge of the judge.
Analysts are afraid that the Rivers State episode may be in the offing in Abia.
As people scampered for safety, the Clerk of the court announced that hearing on the two motions by both factions would come up on October 31st.