Aggrieved members of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) in Ekiti state who are also members of a Pro-Tinubu group under the aegis of Southwest Agenda for 2023 Presidency (SWAGA), have sued the party over the conduct of the party’s July 31 Ward Congress.
In a suit Number FHC/AD/CS/21/2021 filed at the Federal High Court, Ekiti State Division, sought an interlocutory injunction stopping the conduct of the local government congress or an order declaring the outcome illegal.
The suit was filed by their Lawyers, Barrister Ayodeji Odu, and five others for the plaintiffs, and deposed to by 36 SWAGA members and contestants in the ward congress on behalf of over 3,650 members of the group in Ekiti.
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 the July 31 and organized 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 days 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.
Others include: “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 ”.
The 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 under the Ward Congress of 31st July 2021 were unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and in total violation of the guidelines of the 1st defendant on the conduct of the congress”.
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 recognizing 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, 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 realized 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 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.