By Victor Ogunje
The Special Adviser to President on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, and other party leaders summoned for trial over alleged anti party activities in Ekiti State have faulted the composition of the disciplinary committee set up by the State Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as ordered by the state Governor Mai Mala Buni-led National Working Committee (NWC).
Ojudu, Hon Oyetunde Ojo, an in-law to the APC national leader, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu; ex-governorship aspirant of the party, Dr. Wole Oluyede, and nine others summoned by the panel said those on the committee cannot guarantee fairness.
They noted that the decision of the state APC to commence disciplinary measures against them and subsequent invitation was a clear violation of their fundamental rights to seek redress in court when aggrieved with any process.
Ojudu and others were to appear before the panel for filing a suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja challenging the constitution of the Paul Omotosho-led State Working Committee and for criticising the administration of the state Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
Citing directives from the national headquarters, the party had last week set up a 10-man disciplinary committee against the party leaders over their failure to withdraw the suit instituted at the Federal High Court against the SWC, describing their actions as anti-party activities and a clear violation of the NEC’s directives.
But in a letter addressed to the Chairman of the disciplinary committee, Hon Sola Ajigbolamu, by their counsel, Ademuyiwa Adeniyi, the aggrieved leaders explained that they would not attend the committee’s invitation “as it is subjudice in law with consequences.
“That the information at the disposal of our clients is contrary to your claim that the National Caretaker Committee of the APC directed the Ekiti State chapter to set up a disciplinary committee to try members who are exercising their fundamental human rights as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the constitution of their party.
“Sir, take a look at the composition of your committee, especially the position of one of your members, the Ekiti State APC Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Sam Oluwalana, who has already written the report of your committee while addressing journalists on September 15, 2020. He went to the extent of calling our clients recalcitrant. You will agree with us that we cannot guarantee the impartiality of your committee.
“Still on the issue of independence and impartiality of your committee, our clients have raised serious objection to the venue of your meeting. The information at their disposal suggests that the hotel (property) is owned by the person that constituted the committee, the immediate-past Political Adviser to Ekiti State Governor, Paul Omotosho, who was a party to their case at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
“The composition of your committee is against the principles of nemo judex in causa sual. That is, no one is judge in his own cause. This is one of the cardinal rules of natural justice, that no person can judge a case in which they have an interest.
“Omotosho, who constituted your committee and to whom all your findings shall be reported to, is a party to the suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/446/2020 at the Federal High Court, Abuja, and your committee is established mainly because of this pending case. You will agree with us that your employer/the initiator of your committee cannot judge a case in which he is a party. Nemo judex in parte sua.”
Adeniyi said the leaders have explored all internal mechanisms within the party to resolve issues before going to court, adding they are determined for the progress and unity of the APC and are ready for genuine reconciliation towards putting an end to the crisis in the party.