Nigeria

APC leadership tussle: Oshiomhole’s camp seeks dissolution of Governor Buni’s caretaker committee

The All Progressives Congress (APC) is set to return to the trenches despite the appeal by President Muhammadu Buhari to aggrieved chieftains to bury their differences and work with the interim national committee.

The Former national vice-chairman, South-South of the Party, Hilliard Etagboeta, has filed a suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja to seek for the dissolution of the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee led by Yobe State governor, Mallam Mai Mala Buni.

Etagboeta has emerged as factional acting national chairman of the party following the removal of the party erstwhile national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole by a pronouncement of the court.

His claim to the office alongside former deputy national secretary, Victor Giadom led to last June dissolution of the APC National Working Committee by the party National Executive Committee at an emergency meeting held at the Presidential Villa.

The former national vice-chairman, South-South who is the plaintiff in the suit filed by his counsel, Chief Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, is seeking an order of the Court to set aside and nullify the appointment and constitution of the APC Caretaker Committee by its NEC.

Defendants in the suit are Yobe State Governor and Chairman of the Caretaker Committee, Mallam Buni; his Secretary, Senator John Akpan Udoedehe as first and second defendants. Others are Osun State governor, Isiaka Oyetola; his Niger State counterpart, Sani Bello and Stella Oketete as third, fourth and fifth defendants respectively. The suit has the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as 6th defendants.

Also included in the prayers of the plaintiff before the Court are the following orders:

“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, acting by themselves or through their agents and servants,
from continuing to hold out, present and or parade themselves as the caretaker/extraordinary convention planning committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) or from taking any steps whatsoever as to either National Chairman, National Secretary or members respectively of the caretaker/extraordinary convention planning committee of the all
progressives congress (APC).

“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 6 defendants from recognizing and or continuing to recognize the 1st to 5th defendants as National Chairman, National Secretary or members respectively of the caretaker/extraordinary convention planning commíttee of the all progressives congress (APC).”

The plaintiff prayed the court to determine the following questions:

I. 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 All Progressives Congress (APC) it is an illegality and a void act for a person to hold an executive office in the Government simultaneously with an office in any organ of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at any level, in whatever capacity.

ii. Whether having regard to Section 183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Articles 20()a), 170) and (iv) of the Constitution of the All Progressives Congress (APC), only persons who are not disqualified from holding office by virtue of the Constitution may run the affairs of the Party including the holding of a National Conventions and Congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

iii. Whether an act perpetrated in violation of Section 183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), Article 17() and (iv) and 20() ) of the Constitution of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is void ab initio, conferring or extinguishing no legal rights whatsoever.”

Etagboeta accused INEC, the 6th Defendant of bias for relating with the Governor Buni Caretaker which he maintained was an illegal contraption usurping functions of the Comrade Oshiomhole led NWC which had since been dissolved.

“The 6th Defendants no longer deals with the duly elected Executive of APC but on the contrary have recognized the Ist to 5th Defendants in all matters concerning the 1st Plaintiff, which contravenes the Constitution of APC.

“The 1st to 5th Defendants up till today is discharging the functions of the National Working Committee of the 1 Plaintiff and are parading themselves the All Progressives Congress (APC), Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee.”

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the case.

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