Ekiti: Pro-Tinubu group sues APC over ward congress

A suppoter tries to display All Progressives Congress (APC) party flag on a pole, during incumbent President Mohammadu Buhari's presidential campaign rally at the Sanni Abacha Stadium in Kano, on January 31, 2019. - Buhari has flag off campaign in Kano, the commercial nerve centre of northern Nigeria to seek re-election at the forthcoming February polls. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP) (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP via Getty Images)

Dissatisfied with the conduct of the July 31 ward congress in Ekiti State, a Pro-Tinubu group under the auspices of Southwest Agenda for 2023 Presidency (SWAGA), has dragged the All Progressives Congress to Court, calling for the outright annulment of the election.

In suit number FHC/AD/CS/21/2021 filed at the Federal High Court, Ekiti State Division, the group sought an interlocutory injunction stopping the conduct of the local government congress or an order declaring the outcome illegal.

The suit deposed to by 36 SWAGA members and contestants in the ward congress on behalf of over 3,650 members of the group in Ekiti was filed by their Lawyers, Barrister Ayodeji Odu and five others for the plaintiffs.

Joined in the suit are APC (1st defendant), Chairman, Caretaker Committee, Governor Mai Mala Buni (2nd defendant), Ekiti APC Chairman, Paul Omotoso (3rd defendant), Chairman, Ekiti Congress Screening Committee, Samuel Abejide (4th defendant) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (5th defendant).

The plaintiffs sought an order declaring the congress of the 1st defendant purportedly held on July 31, organised and conducted by or under the instruction/supervision of 2nd and 3rd defendants in Ekiti State as unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.

They also prayed the court to declare that the congress of the 1st defendant purportedly held in Ekiti-State on the 31 day of July 2021 was in total breach of democratic norms and practices and violation of the Constitution and guidelines issued by the 1st defendant for the conduct of the 2021 ward congresses.

“A declaration that no congress was held in Ekiti-State chapter of the 1st defendant as no result has been declared in respect of the congress as at the date of filing this case.

“A declaration that the 2nd defendant cannot hold the position of Chairman, Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Committee of the 1st defendant as such appointment/role is a constitutional violation of section 187 of the 1999 Constitution as amended and article 8 of the 1st defendant’s constitution.

“A declaration that all actions or steps taken by the 1st defendant under the control, supervision, direction of the so-called Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of APC, headed by the 2nd defendant, including the conduct of ward congresses across Nigeria and Ekiti State on 31st July 2021, was illegal and unconstitutional on the ground that the 2nd defendant under whose such steps or actions were taken was ineligible to superintend over 1st defendant party affairs while still serving in office as a Governor.

“A declaration that all committee/Ward congress committees set up by the 3rd defendant pursuant to the Ward Congress of 31st July 2021 was unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and in total violation of the guidelines of the 1st defendant on the conduct of the congress,” they prayed.

They also sought an injunction restraining the 1st and 3rd defendants from conducting any further congresses into local government and state offices of the 1st defendant in Ekiti State, pending the determination of the substantive matter.

The plaintiffs asked for an injunction restraining the 5th defendant from recognising or dealing with any ward executive or officers purportedly produced grom the purported ward congress of 31st July 2021 in Ekiti State.

Commenting on the suit, the Chairman of SWAGA in Ekiti, Senator Tony Adeniyi, said INEC and APC had been duly served while also accusing Governor Buni, Paul Omotoso and Samuel Abejide of evading service.

“Having realised that these defendants were trying to obstruct justice by evading service of papers, we are going to file a motion for substituted service on Monday, September 6, before the court to make the service easier and for expeditious trial of the case,” Adeniyi said.

But the Secretary of Congress Committee in Ekiti, Hon Femi Akindele, said whoever approached the court without exhausting internal mechanism to seek redress would be doing that in flagrant violation of the party’s constitution and guidelines.

Akindele posited that the local government congress conducted in Ekiti on Saturday, September 4, was undertaken without violating the constitution of the party and the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, noting that the suit didn’t vitiate the process already undertaken.

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