THE ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) at the weekend gave an insight into the defence it planned against the suit brought against the decision of the party’s National Executive Council (NEC) to extend the tenure of all party officials, by a loyalist of a national leader, Senator Bola Tinubu.
The plaintiff, Dr Wale Ahmed, in a suit tabled before the Federal High Court in Lagos, is seeking the voiding of the extension of the party’s officers.
Ahmed is a former lawmaker in Lagos State and a known ally of Tinubu, who himself had rejected the tenure elongation.
National Legal Adviser of the party, Dr Muiz Banire, told Sunday Tribune that the processes in the suit had not been served on his office, but noted that the party’s defence was ready.
Sunday Tribune had a peep into the defence which he would be filing before the court once the case is assigned and processes served on him.
The defence is planned to run on two planks.
One is that the suit brought by the Tinubu’s loyalist, is meaningless, because “there is no cause of action as NEC never extended any tenure” according to Banire.
He also planned to push before the court the failure of the plaintiff in exhausting all the internal mechanisms of the party for conflict resolution before filing the suit.
“It is simple. Let him go and exhaust domestic remedy first,” Banire said.
The party could sanction members who externalise grievances without first exhausting domestic conflict resolution mechanism.
This is the second suit that would be brought against the controversial elongation of the tenure of the party executive.
The main grouse of anti-extension appears to be the National Working Committee (NWC) led by John Odigie-Oyegun, benefiting from it.
Tinubu has been at the forefront of Oyegun quitting office even before the expiration of his tenure which ends in June.
Ahmed, who is also a former Commissioner for Special Duties in Lagos, has asked the court for the following reliefs;
*A declaration that the first to sixth defendants have no power under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, to extend the tenure of the elected organs/officers beyond four years from their election /inauguration.
*A declaration that the purported extension of the tenure of the extant National Working Committee (NWC) and /or other executive committees or their members of the All Progressives Congress at various levels for another 12 months from June 30, 2018 by the National Executive Committee of or by the All Progressives Congress, is illegal, null and void and of no effect.
*A declaration that any provision of the sixth defendant’s constitution or any memorandum, circular or pronouncement of the first to sixth defendants purporting to extend the tenure of the first to fifth defendants beyond their extant elected or inaugurated four year tenure is in conflict or is inconsistent with the provision of Section 223(1) (a) and 223 (2) (a) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and is null and void to the extent of its inconsistency.
*An injunction restraining the first to sixth defendants, their servants and/or agents, from taking any steps to implement the purported tenure elongation of the presently elected/constituted organs/officers of the All Progressives Congress, which pronouncement or decision was made on or about the 27th of February, 2018, or in any manner howsoever, stay in office beyond four years from the date of their election/inauguration.
*An injunction restraining the seventh defendant, its servants and /or agents, from recognising the decision or any decision of the first to sixth defendants to extend the tenure of the sixth defendant’s extant elected organs/officers beyond their elected/constituted four years, or, taking any step, in any manner howsoever, to implement such decision.”
Ahmed in his submission averred that: “We must avoid a situation whereby a dangerous precedent will be laid by the deliberate violation of party constitution, rules and regulations on leadership recruitment and renewal of tenure. Our party is known for its avowed commitment to the rule of law, the due process and the constitution. We must obey our own laws and respect the constitution of the country”.
Sunday Tribune findings showed that in some states, the tenure of some local government excos wasn’t in uniform with others and the members had completed their tenure, with the acting period already running for them.
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