By Alex Enumah in Abuja
A court action instituted by aggrieved members of the All Progressive Congress (APC) to stop the National Convention of the party slated for Saturday in Abuja, failed Wednesday, as Justice Sylvanus Oriji of a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court declined their requests.
Delivering ruling in an originating summon filed by an aggrieved member of the party, one Udo Ibe from Abia State, the judge held that stopping the national convention of the APC will do injustice to others who are not parties to the suit by the plaintiff.
Ibe had dragged the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the court, praying for an order of mandatory Injunction — compelling INEC to stop recognising APC as a political party under the 1999 constitution or the Electoral Act 2010 for any purpose stipulated under the said constitution or the electoral act.
The plaintiff also prayed the court for an order of perpetual injunction, stopping APC and its agents from excluding him as a contestant to the office of the chairman of Ania Ward, Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia State, through the process of “guided Congress” or any manner inconsistent with the constitution of the party.
The grouse of the plaintiff was that the tenure of officers of Ania Ward had expired at the time they planned the congress and as such the ward congress was illegal and unlawful.
Besides, Ibe also felt aggrieved with his alleged exclusion from participating as a chairmanship aspirant for Ania Ward.
When the matter came up Wednesday, counsel to APC, Ayotunde Ogunleye, informed the court that processes had just been served on the APC and that he needed time to peruse the papers and respond to them accordingly.
Ogunleye, therefore applied for an adjournment to enable him file his response on behalf of APC as required by law.
However, counsel to the plaintiff, Kalu Kalu, who did not object to the request for an adjournment, prayed the court to order parties in the matter to maintain status quo, pending the resolution of the originating summons of his client.
Kalu drew the attention of the court to the fact that the APC as the 1st defendant had slated its national convention for this Saturday and that the case of his client would be destroyed if status quo was not maintained by the parties.
But counsel to the APC urged the court to decline granting the request on the grounds that it would affect others who are not parties in the suit.
Ogunleye further argued that the order requested by the plaintiff was not related to the main suit.
Justice Oriji however disagreed with him on the request for status quo, adding that the order sought if granted would affect parties who were not parties in this suit.
The judge subsequently adjourned the matter till July 5 for hearing of the originating summons.
In a related development, the Abuja division of the Federal High Court also refused to stop the Hon. Babatunde Balogun led executive committee (Exco) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from participating in the forthcoming National Convention.
Justice Binta Nyako, who declined to stop the Balogun group, said that the principle of fair hearing will be breached since only one person instituted the court action.
Delivering ruling in an ex-parte motion filed by an aggrieved contestant in the May 12, 2018 Lagos APC Congress, Bunmi Tayo Church, Justice Nyako said that it will be unfair to stop the Balogun faction in view of the limited time to the convention, slated for June 23, 2018 in Abuja.
In declining to grant the exparte motion, the Judge held that the plaintiff was just one out of 1,885 aspirants vying for positions during the congress.
Justice Nyako said that the plaintiff did not help himself in his claim that he was prevented from participating at the state congress, adding that it is a law that anyone who did not participate in an election cannot challenge the outcome of that election.
The court held that, Church, having not participated in the May 12 Lagos State APC congress, cannot use the ex-parte application to challenge the outcome of the congress.
Besides, Justice Nyako said that hundreds of others who participated in the congress will be denied fair hearing if the application is granted because they were not brought before the court by the applicant (Church), who instituted the court action in his personal capacity.
Justice Nyako therefore ordered that the Originating Summons filed by the plaintiff/applicant, through his counsel, Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN), will be given accelerated hearing.
However, Justice Babatunde Quadri, who read the ruling on behalf of Justice Nyako, who was said to be bereaved, however, did not give a definite date for the hearing of the Originating Summons, saying that Justice Nyako will fix a convenient date for the matter to be heard.