Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Court fixes December 2 to rule on suit challenging Buni caretaker committee

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A Federal High Court sitting in Gusau, Zamfara, on Wednesday fixed December 2 for ruling in the suit filed by 10 All Progressives Congress, APC, Local Government Chairmen challenging their dissolution.

The presiding judge, Justice Aminu Bappah-Aliyu, announced the date at the resumed hearing of the substantive case on Wednesday in Gusau.

The APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, CECPC, had dissolved the party’s executive in Zamfara following the defection of Gov. Bello Matawalle, from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC.

Gov. Mai Mala-Buni of Yobe, who is the CECPC chairman, had announced the dissolution of party executives and declared Matawalle as the leader of the party in the state.

The suit filed before the court by one Abdulaziz Danmaliki and nine others in July 28, had Buni as first defendant, the APC, second defendant and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as third defendant.

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The plaintiffs asked the court to determine whether the CECPC chairman had the right to dissolve them and hand over the affairs of the party to a caretaker committee.

Also, whether INEC could lawfully accept and deal with any officer of the party in the state, other than the plaintiffs.

They asked the court to declare the “mere oral announcement, of the dissolution, on June 29, as illegal and a void act contrary to Article 14.1 (lll), (V) and (Vlll) of the party’s constitution.”

The plaintiff argued that the dissolution did not extinguish the legal rights of the plaintiffs and that the first defendant lacked the right to remove the plaintiffs who were duly appointed by the national secretariat of the party on December 8, 2020.

They prayed the court to nullify the dissolution as well as order INEC not to accept or deal with any other state officer other than the plaintiffs.

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They also prayed the court to order that the appointment of the plaintiffs subsists.

The plaintiffs urged the court to also restrain the first and second defendants from disrupting their tenure of office pending the conduct of congresses at all levels.

Daniel Enwelum, SAN, who represented the 10 plaintiffs told the News Agency of Nigeria shortly after the adjournment that the plaintiffs include Abdul’aziz Danmaliki, Tafa Nasarawa, Umar Danmaigadi, Abubakar Tijjani Dan-Ayyah and Alto Bala Kaura.

Others include Lawal Sulaiman, Abdullahi Sani Dan-azumi, Lawal Mustafa, Babangida Abdullahi and Ibrahim Kofa.

Mr Enwelum said: “we are challenging the action of the acting national chairman of the APC, Gov. Mai Mala Buni who at a rally, off handedly, dissolved the existing state exco and handed over the party to the governor as the party leader.
He explained that”there is no position of leader of the party and the provision of the constitution of the APC, articles 13, 14 and 17, particularly article 14, does not give him the mandate to do such thing.”
Mr Enwelum, however, said it’s “now left for the court to decide the final judgement on the coming 2nd of December this year.”

He contended that the court order restraining the defendants from further action, including conduct of congresses, had not been vacated.

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Pwahomdi Lasco, who represented the first and second defendants, in his final submission, urged the court to strike out the suit for lack of jurisdiction and award substantial cost.

Also, INEC, the third defendant, urged the court to strike out the case for want of jurisdiction or “in the alternative strike out the name of the third defendant for not being a proper party.”


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