Aggrieved members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) loyal to the former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu in Ekiti State have approached the Federal High Court seeking the nullification of the ward and local government congresses of the party in the state.
The members also asked the court to sack the National Caretaker Chairman of the party and governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni and declare as illegal and unconstitutional all actions taken under him as the chairman of the APC.
In a suit marked FHC/AD/CS/21/2021 filed at the Ado-Ekiti division of the court, the members under the auspices of the South West Agenda for Asiwaju 2023 (SWAGA) sought an injunction declaring the outcomes of the July 31 ward congress and the September 4 local government congress unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.
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).
They also prayed the court “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.”
They also sought an injunction restraining the 1st and 3rd defendants from conducting any further congresses in Ekiti State pending the determination of the substantive matter.
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.
According to him, “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.”
But the Secretary of Congress Committee in Ekiti, Femi Akindele, said whoever approaches the court without an 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, saying the suit didn’t vitiate the process already undertaken.