The national convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC) being planned by the party’s Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) is now a subject of litigation at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The CECPC, led by Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni (as the National Chairman) plans to conduct the party’s national convention next month to among others, elect new executive members.
Listed as plaintiffs in the suit are the APC and a former national chairman (South south) of the party, Ntufam Hilliard Etagbo Eta who are contesting the constitutionality of the CECPC.
Defendants in the suit filed by a team of lawyers led by Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) are: Buni, Senator John Akpan Udoedehe (National Secretary, CECPC), Isiaka Oyetola (member, CECPC), Sani Bello (member, CECPC), Stella Oketete (member, CECPC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Plaintiffs say the constitution of the APC’s CECPC is unlawful, having been populated by serving state governors, in violation of the Constitution of the country and that of the political party.
They want the court to among others, determine whether, having regard to Section 183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Article 17 (iv) of the Constitution of APC, it is an illegality and a void act for a person to hold an executive office in government simultaneously with an office in any organ of the APC at any level, in whatever capacity.
The plaintiffs want the court to set aside/nullify the appointment and constitution of the first to fifth defendants into a caretaker/extraordinary convention planning committee of the APC.
They also seek an order of perpetual injunction restraining the to defendants and their agents “from continuing to hold out, present and or parade themselves as members of the APC’s CECPC or from taking any steps whatsoever as either the National Chairman, National Secretary or members respectively of the CECPC of the APC.
They plaintiffs are equally praying the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the sixth defendant (INEC) from recognising and or continuing to recognise the first to fifth defendants as constituting the APC’s CECPC.
Etagbo Eta, in a supporting affidavit, stated that the APC’s the National Working Committee (NWC) reacted to the proposed illegal convention in a document captioned: “Press Statement by All Progressives Congress (APC) National Working Committee (NWC),” clearly expressing that the proposed meeting violated the constitution of the APC.
He stated that the first to fifth defendants and those, who projected them, were duly alerted of the illegality of their act yet they persisted in such illegality and wilful disregard of the organic document of the first plaintiff (APC).
Etagbo Eta further stated that the sixth defendant no longer deals with the duly elected executive of the APC, but on the contrary, has recognised the first to fifth defendants in all matters concerning the APC, which contravenes the Constitution of the party.
He added that the first to fifth defendants, up till today are discharging the functions of the National Working Committee of the APC and are parading themselves the party’s CECPC.
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