By Alex Enumah in Abuja
A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered all parties in the disputed Congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara State to maintain status quo pending the determination of the suit filed by aggrieved members of the party led by Alhaji Sirajo Garba.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba gave the preservative order yesterday while ruling on an application challenging the result of the Congresses of the party held on 5th, 12th and 19th May, 2018.
After listening to submissions made by counsel to the plaintiffs, James Onoja (SAN), Justice Dimgba ordered parties to maintain “status quo and should not take any steps that would render nugatory the subject matter of this litigation, adding that “A breach of this order attracts judicial sanction.”
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/910/2018, 139 aggrieved members of the party, loyal to Senator Kabir Garba Marafa, led by Alhaji Sirajo Garba, are praying the court for an order declaring them as the persons duly elected chairmen/ members of the 147 ward Executive Committee and state Executive Committee, as the case may be, of the APC in Zamfara State being the only members/ candidates who expressed their intent to be elected to such offices, paid prescribed fees for the party’s nomination forms following electoral guidelines and thus remained unopposed at all material times leading to the said congress election.
Defendants in the suit are, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Lawal Liman Namado; Alhaji Sani Musa; Engr. Babangida Abdullahi and Aminu Saraki and two others.
Besides, the plaintiffs urged the court to grant an order of perpetual injunction restraining the 1st and 8th defendants by themselves, their servants, organs from dealing in anyway with and or accepting /according recognition to any person, decision or action or result of any election to any Organ of the party, particularly the wards, Local government Area and State Congresses of the party for the 147 wards Executive Committees, 14 LGA Executive Committees and State Executive Committee, as the case may be for Zamfara State.
An order of perpetual injunction restraining all persons presented as “consensus candidates” and imposed on the plaintiffs and other members of the party (1st defendant) as Chairmen/members of the 147 wards congresses, 14 LGA Executive Committees and State Executive, as the case may be, for Zamfara State at the congresses elections held on 5th, 12th and 19th May, 2018 by themselves, servants or agents from parading themselves as performing the functions of the Chairmen/ members of the 147 wards Executive, 14 LGA Executive Committees and State Executive Committees, as the case may be for the APC in Zamfara State.
The plaintiffs formulated 12 questions for determination and 15 declaratory reliefs including “Whether upon a proper construction or interpretation of the provisions of section 223(1) (a) of the 1999 Constitution, section 15 (c) of the Third Schedule to the 1999 constitution, section 85 (3) of the Electoral Act, Article 20(1) (a) of the Constitution of the APC and regulations relating to “nomination of candidates for party position” and mode of elections at congresses” stipulated in the party’s “guidelines for wards, LGA and State Congresses, the 1st and 8th defendants have a statutory duty to ensure that the organs of the party as specified in Articles 11(a) of its Constitution, particularly the wards Executive , LGA Executive and State Executive Committees, are constituted in a democratic manner to ensure that popular participation and choice of members of the party prevails.”