Court Orders Substituted Service on Buni, 11 Others over APC’s NWC Dissolution

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By Alex Enumah

Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Monday ordered substituted service of court processes in a suit challenging the dissolution of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The judge ordered that the summons for the APC Chairman of the Caretaker Committee and Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, be pasted at the entrance of the National Secretariat of the APC at No: 40 Blantyre Street, Wuse, Abuja.

The order followed a complaint by a plaintiff in the matter, Mr Kalu Kalu, that the respondents have been evading service of court summons since they got wind of the suit.

Others, who are also affected by the order on service, are: Governor Sani Bello, Senator Ken Nnamani, Isiaka Oyebola, Dr James Lalu, Senator Abubakar Yusuf, Hon. Akinyemi Olaide, David Leon, Prof. Tahir Mamman, Ismail Ahmed and Senator Akpan Udoedehe.

In a short ruling after an exparte motion was argued by the plaintiff on behalf of himself, Justice Taiwo ordered that the originating summons and other processes in the matter be served on third to 14th defendants by posting same on the entrance gate of the APC headquarters in Abuja, since the party is the second defendant in the matter.

The judge further ordered that the service when effected by the court bailiff shall be deemed good and proper service.

He accordingly adjourned to September 4 for hearing.

Kalu, a Youth Leader of the APC in Abia State, is challenging the powers of the National Executive Council (NEC) to sack the national leaders barely two years out of their constitutionally guaranteed four year term of office.

In the suit with number: FHC/ABJ/ CS/736/2020, the plaintiff asked for an order of the Federal High Court, Abuja, setting aside the dissolution of the NWC by APC’s NEC meeting held at the Presidential Villa last month.

He also prayed the court for an order restraining the National Caretaker Committee members led by Buni from parading themselves as national officers of the APC and from usurping the functions of the party’s NWC.

The plaintiff also prayed the court for an order restraining the National Caretaker Committee from putting into effect the resolution of the APC’s NEC meeting passed on June 25, 2020 and for another order against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from recognizing, dealing with or relating with the caretaker committee in whatever guise to usurp the functions of the NWC.

In a 44-paragraph affidavit in support of the originating summons, the plaintiff claimed to be one of the foundation members of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) under which he contested for the House of Representatives in Arochukwu/Ohafia Federal Constituency of Abia State in 2011 and that after the 2011 general election, the party along with others merged in 2013 to form the present APC.

The plaintiff further averred that he is an accredited APC member and that he was elected as the Abia State Youth Leader in April 2014 during the state’s congress held at Umuahia, adding that the national officers of the APC were also elected in 2014 in accordance with the party’s constitution.

Insisting that the 1999 Constitution guarantees a four-year tenure for party officials, Kalu averred that in breach of the same constitution on June 25, 2020, APC’s NEC meeting at the presidential villa Abuja, passed an illegal and unlawful resolution dissolving the NWC and also setting up an illegal caretaker committee of the NWC.

The plaintiff’s further grouse was that members of APC’s NWC had barely spent two years from their four years in office before they were purportedly dissolved by the NEC.

He is therefore praying the court to declare the dissolution of the NWC as unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.

The plaintiff further prayed the court to declare that the setting up of the caretaker committee for APC by the NEC on June 25, is unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and of no effect.