Barristers & Solicitors
Court Dismisses Another Suit Seeking Sack of Buni-led CECPC

*Holds serving governors, other members of committee not on paid employment
Alex Enumah in Abuja

Justice Y. Halilu of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court has dismissed a suit challenging the legality of the Caretaker /Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Halilu, in a judgement delivered March 1, with its Certified True Copy Dated March 18, which was sighted by THISDAY, held that the claimant woefully failed to prove allegations made against the defendants.

The claimant, former Chairman of the Kwara State APC, Bashir Bolarinwa, had last year dragged the party and members of CECPC to court challenging the legality of the committee set up June 25, 2020 as well as his removal as Kwara State APC Chairman. Bolarinwa also challenged the powers of APC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) to dissolve the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee in 2020, among other issues.

APC, CECPC Chairman Mai Mala Buni, John Akpanudoedehe, Abubakar Bello, Isiaka Bello, Stella Okotete, Professor Tahir Mamman, Ken Nnamani, Senator Abubakar Yusuf, Hon Akinremi Olaide, Dr. James Lalu, Chief David Lyon, Senator Abba Ali, Ismael Ahmed, and Abdulahi Samario, were the first to 15th defendants, respectively, in the suit.
Among the issues Bolarinwa took to court for determination were: whether the appointment of the 2, 4, and 5 defendants, being serving governors of Yobe, Niger and Osun states respectively, as Chairman and members of CECPC of the APC, was legal and constitutional, having regard to the provisions of Section 183and 223 of the 1999 Constitution.

He said if the question was answered in the negative, whether their appointment was not a gross violation of the constitution.
Claimant further urged the court to determine whether the decision of the APC NEC made on December 8, 2020 to extend the tenure of the CECPC for a period of six months was valid, having regard to Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 17 of the APC constitution.

Among the declarations Bolarinwa sought from the court was that Buni and the other serving governors’ presence in CECPC was illegal and unconstitutional with regard to Sections 183 and 223 of the constitution. He further called for another declaration that having violated the provisions of Sections 183 and 223 of the constitution, the governors were no longer entitled to Section 308, which guaranteed their immunity from prosecution.

Similarly, the claimant urged the court to declare that all decisions and actions taken by CECPC from June 25, 2020 till they were removed from office were illegal, null and void, having regard to Section 183, 223 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 17 of the APC constitution.

The court was then urged for an order removing the second to 14th defendants from office as chairman and members of CECPC, as well as another nullifying and setting aside all actions and purported removal of claimant by the second to 14th defendants on January 4, 2021
Bolarinwa had sought, “An order nullifying and setting aside the purported ward congresses conducted by the CECPC in Kwara State on July 31, 2021
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the first to 14th defendants from conducting any other congresses into any office in the APC pursuant to the Notice of Congress issued by the second to 14th defendants or from performing any other functions in their capacities as CEPCC.”

However, after an examination of the case of the claimant, the court came to the conclusion that the, “Contention of the claimant is borne out of the misinterpretation and misconception of the provisions of Sections 183, 223 of the constitution as well as provisions referred to in this case which clearly shows the claimant’s failure to appreciate the essence and purpose of the resolution of the APC’s NEC on June 25, 2020.”

The court also noted that the fulcrum of the claimant’s complaint against the dissolution of the NWC were that the appointment of the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 14th defendants contravened Section 183 and Article 17 of APC and that the appointment of CECPC by NEC to take the place of NWC was not democratic in line with Section 223 of the constitution.
The court explained that all the allegations were denied by the defendants, thereby putting the claimant to the strictest proof of the same.
According to the judge, the claimant could not prove that the governors and other members of CECPC, who are sitting and serving members took up the appointment in full capacity or are in paid employment in that executive official capacity to constitute an infraction or contravention of the provision of Section 183 of the constitution.
Halilu stated that the counter affidavits of the defendants also showed that they were constituted to temporarily perform the function of conducting the national convention of APC and nothing more.
On the issue of the dissolution of the Oshiomhole NWC, the court held that NEC did not violate the constitution of the party as Article 13 (3) of the APC constitution empowered it to intervene when there was crisis in the running of the party and that by setting up CECPC, which was mandated to conducted a national convention to elect new NWC, , NEC was in order.

The judge further explained that Section 223 of the constitution was not a guarantee of tenure of office of four years but rather for the conduct of election into the party elective offices by political parties.
On the removal of the claimant by CECPC in January last year, the court held that he who had power to appoint also had the power to fire, adding that NEC donated its powers to CECPC when it inaugurated the committee to replace the NWC in the interim.

The judge accordingly dismissed the suit for lacking in merit.
Halilu held, “Claimant has woefully failed to justify the grant of reliefs sought in his originating summons. The entire suit having regards to the facts and circumstances of the same, constitute an abuse of judicial process and liable to be dismissed.

“I shall dismiss the said suit by consigning the same to a forlorn of judicial debris.
“Accordingly suit number CV/2006/2021 is hereby dismissed for the reason advanced.”

Culled from ThisDay