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Shina Abubakar, Osogbo

A Federal High Court sitting in Osogbo, Osun state has adjourned ruling on preliminary objections raised by the All Progressives Congress, APC, against a suit filed before it by aggrieved members of the party in Osun against the party ward congress, held on July 31, 2021, to Wednesday, January 26, 2022.

2,517 members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in 26 local governments of the State had challenged the ward congress conducted of the party, saying they were denied to take part in it despite fulfilling financial obligations.

The suit has as defendants/objectors, the National Secretariat of the APC, Chairman of Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Committee of the APC, Governor Mai Mala Buni, Chairman of the Ward Congress Committee, Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye, Chairman of Ward Congress Appeal Committee in the state, Amb. Obed Wadzani, the State of Osun chapter of the party and Independent Electoral Commission (INEC).

The objectors argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the case because it is a party matter, stating that the court should excuse itself from meddling in party affairs.

Lead counsel to APC and Gov. Buni, Dr Mubaraq Adekilekun argued that the suit does not worth being heard because the litigants do not have the right to challenge the directive of the National Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Committee of the party.

Adekilekun submitted that the plaintiffs’ complaint against the consensus method of the ward congress lack substance because no party member has the legal right to challenge the national leadership of the party.

He added that Governor Buni cannot be joined in the suit since he has immunity from prosecution, adding that the suit, since it involved over 2000 persons, cannot be filed by proxy.

Responding to the argument of the respondents, the lead counsel of the aggrieved APC members, Mahmud Adesina, SAN, argued that the court has jurisdiction to entertain the case because it has to do with noncompliance with the guidelines on the ward congress of the party.

While noting that only the litigants applied, paid and obtained forms to contest party offices in the congress, he argued that the congress conducted by the plaintiffs was the only legal exercise and submitted that the congress organised by the defendants/objectors is null and void, illegal and of no effect.

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