By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC in Lagos State, Dr. Wale Ahmed has dragged the party’s national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and other senior officials of the party to court over what he alleged as the illegal extension of the tenure of office of the national executive.
Ahmed, a former member of the Lagos State House of Assembly submitted in his court processes that the extension of the tenure of the National Working Committee, NWC headed by Chief Odigie-Oyegun and other committees across the country was in violation of the constitution and other extant laws.
Ahmed was also a former commissioner for Special Duties in Lagos State.
In the suit filed on his behalf at the Federal High Court, Lagos, by his lawyer, B.A.M Fashanu (SAN), Ahmed is thus asking that the declaration by the APC National Executive Committee, NEC be declared of no effect on the basis that the extension was illegal, and against the constitution of the country and the party.
Noting Section 223 (1a) and (2a), of the 1999 Constitution, he submitted that “the constitution and rules of a political party shall provide for the periodic election on a democratic basis of the principal officer and members of the executive committee or other governing body of the political party.”
Continuing, he averred that “the election of the officers or members of the executive committee of a political party shall be deemed to be periodical only if it is made at regular intervals not exceeding four years.”
Adding the provisions of the APC Constitution (2014 as amended), “all officers of the party elected or appointed into the party’s organs shall serve in such organs for a period of four years and shall be eligible for re-election or re-appointment for another period of four years only, provided that an officer elected or appointed to fill a vacancy arising from death, resignation or otherwise shall notwithstanding be eligible for election to the same office for two terms.”
The suit with reference number FHC/L/CS/364/18 filed at the Federal High Court, Lagos Division, also had the Deputy National Chairman (South), Chief Segun Oni, Deputy National Chairman (North), Senator Lawal Shuaibu, National Secretary Mallam Ibrahim Gubi, National Vice Chairman (Southwest) Chief Pius Akinyelure, the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as defendants.
In his prayers, he is seeking among others that:
“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.”