The national convention scheduled for February 2022 of the decision Congress of All Progressives (APC) may be threatened because some aggrieved party members have filed a complaint to arrest him.
Another lawsuit filed by an injured member calls for the impeachment of Yobe state governor Mai Mala Buni as the party’s interim chairman.
Both lawsuits were filed in the Federal High Court in Abuja between December 2021 and January 2022.
In a lawsuit against the convention scheduled for February, five aggrieved party members sued the APC, Yobe State, Mr. Buni and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as defendants.
The plaintiffs – Suleiman Usman, Muhammed Shehu, Samaila Isahaka, Idris Isah and Audu Emmanuel – through the lawsuit dated January 4, 2022, urged the court to prevent the Concierge / Planning Committee of the extraordinary convention headed by Buni from ‘go ahead with the planned convention.
Already, governors elected on the APC platform, known as the Progressive Governors Forum, have scheduled a meeting this weekend in Abuja, at the Kebbi State Governors’ Lodge in Asokoro.
There has been a clamor for a change in the date of the planned national convention.
In the case with the prosecution number FHC / ABJ / CS / 3/2022, the plaintiffs, through their lawyer, Olusola Ojo, asked the court to stop the convention on the grounds that the state congresses have not yet been completed in the 36 states of the federation.
The plaintiffs raised five issues for the court to decide and also requested eight declaratory measures.
The plaintiffs requested, among other things, an ordinance “prohibiting the 1st (APC) and 2nd (Mr. Buni) defendants from organizing and conducting the national convention of the 1st defendant unless the state congresses of the 1st defendant are first concluded in the 36 states. of the federation and of the Federal Capital Territory.
They also requested: “An order of this Honorable Court directing the 1st and 2nd Defendants to first hold the 1st Defendant’s State Congresses in Anambra and Zamfara States before the 1st Defendant’s National Convention can be held. programmed and organized.
“An order of this Honorable Court prohibiting the 3rd defendant (INEC) from giving effect to any action of the 1st and 2nd defendants aimed at organizing and conducting a national convention of the 1st defendant unless the State conventions of the 1st defendant are not first conducted / concluded in ALL 36 federation states and the Federal Capital Territory.
APC youth leader sues Yobe government and INEC for party leadership
In a similar lawsuit, APC youth leader Zahrah Audu urged the Federal High Court in Abuja to prevent Mr. Buni from posing as the chairman of the party’s interim national committee.
In the action dated December 10, 2021 and titled FHC / ABJ / CS / 1577/2021, Ms. Audi urged the court to declare that Mr. Buni, being the current Governor of Yobe State, cannot validly hold an executive position within the CPA as a national. chairman of the interim planning committee for the extraordinary convention.
APC, Mr. Buni and INEC are sued as 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants, respectively.
She urged the court to declare that Mr. Buni’s position as current governor of Yobe State creates a situation that will prevent him as the national chairman of the first respondent’s extraordinary convention planning committee ( APC) to operate in light of the provision of Article 183. of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), Articles 13.2 (A) (vii) and 17 (iv) of the Constitution of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as amended.
Other prayers sought by her are: “A declaration that the appropriate body of the 1st respondent to validly fix a date and / or convene the national convention of the 1st respondent is the board of directors of the APC.
“An order prohibiting the 2nd Respondent (Mr. Buni) from standing as the National Planning Committee of the 1st Respondent’s Guardian Extraordinary Convention while simultaneously serving as Governor of Yobe State.
“An order annulling the date (February 2022) reserved or announced by the 2nd defendant for the holding of the National Convention of the CPA.
“An order directing the 3rd Respondent to refrain from recognizing the 2nd Respondent as the National Chairman of the CPA Acting Special Convention Planning Committee.”
In the affidavit filed in support of the lawsuit, the plaintiff, Ms. Audu, said she was the president and coordinator of the Progressive Youth Movement, a support group for the party.
She said in the court document consulted by this journalist that the main mandate of the PYM is to mobilize young people and ensure synergy within the party and that the party’s activities comply with the provisions of its directives and its constitution as well as ‘to the Nigerian constitution.
In the meantime, no date has been set for the hearing of the two cases.
Mr Buni was appointed chairman of the APC’s Interim Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) in June 2020 to stabilize the party as internal storms that ultimately led to the exit of its former chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, threatened his future.
A little calm has been restored in the party with the appointment of Mr. Buni supported by President Muhammadu Buhari.
But the suppressed unrest escalated after a Supreme Court ruling in July last year cast doubts on the legitimacy of Mr. Buni’s leadership of the party as well as the legality of his actions, including the nomination of candidates for elections and the conduct of party conventions.
The Supreme Court, by a split 4-3 decision of its panel in July 2021, upheld the victory of APC governor Rotimi Akeredolu in the last governorate election in Ondo state, but was not categorical on the validity or otherwise of Mr. Buni’s leadership. who nominated Mr. Akeredolu as the party’s candidate for election.
Opposition candidate for governor on the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) platform during the elections in Ondo state, Eyitayo Jegede, had argued that Mr. Akeredolu was not a good one candidate for governor in the election.
According to Mr. Jegede and the PDP, this was due to the fact that Mr. Akeredolu’s appointment was overseen by Mr. Buni, who they claimed was illegally the president of the APC and the governor of Yobe State, in violation of the Nigerian constitution.
The majority decision of the Supreme Court formation had outright dismissed Mr. Jegede’s appeal on the grounds that he had not joined Mr. Buni as a respondent. He said that with the allegations against him, Mr. Buni was a necessary party that should have been joined for the prosecution to have jurisdiction.
With the APC slipping out of the hammer, some legal voices within the party, including Minister of State for Labor and Employment Festus Keyamo, a senior Nigerian lawyer, warned that the judgment called for a future uncertain for the APC if Mr. Buni was not immediately removed from his post as party leader.
But the party leadership and Federation Attorney General Abubakar Malami rejected such a suggestion, which they said misinterpreted the Supreme Court’s verdict.
However, some party members clung to the Supreme Court’s verdict to sue for Mr. Buni’s impeachment and to stop the party convention.
The party’s split has led the party to postpone its now rescheduled convention in February.
Based on the Supreme Court’s ruling, PDP also filed a complaint with the Federal High Court in Abuja in August 2021, requesting the dismissal of Mr. Buni as governor of Yobe state. PDP argued in the lawsuit that it is a constitutional violation to combine the governor’s office with another executive post as president of the CPA.
The opposition party has requested that its candidate for governor in the 2019 elections, Umar Damagum, and his running mate, Baba Aji, be sworn in to replace Mr Buni and his deputy.
President Muhammadu Buhari has recently said that internal disputes within the APC could undermine his victory in the upcoming general election.
In an interview with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) on Thursday, Buhari said the APC could lose the 2023 presidential poll to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) or one of the opposition political parties. if the ruling party does not put its actions together.
He spoke against a background of disagreement on certain issues surrounding the APC convention scheduled for February.
PREMIUM TIMES reported that one of the reasons the ruling party has not set a specific date for the convention is that governors and some senior members are considering the option of a consensus candidate.
Mr. Buhari had said that he was not a kingmaker and that those who want power should work for him.
He said if he gave in to pressure from governors, which he did not say, the party’s chances in the next parliamentary elections could be jeopardized.
While February has been set for its long-awaited national convention, the CPA has not released the exact date of the event.
This, to some extent, continued to spark speculation about a possible plot to extend the tenure of the warden committee headed by Mr. Buni.
According to Article 85 (1) of the Election Law, a political party must give the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at least 21 days’ notice before holding a convention, congress, conference or meeting. convened for the purpose of electing members. in any seat of leadership.
According to the arrangement, the party has between January 7 and February 9 to make its decision known to the CENI.
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