Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara and nine others have sued the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, over the conduct of ward and local government congresses of the party in Bauchi State.
The Nation reports that the plaintiffs claimed that the conduct of the congresses was in breach of the APC Constitution and congress guidelines.
They asked the court to halt today’s state congress in their state on account of the pending suit.
It was learnt that the action might be the last battle Dogara will fight in APC before defecting to the People’s Democratic Party.
In the suit filed by A.U. Mustapha, SAN from A.U. Mustapha, SAN & Co, the Speaker alleged that the results of ward and local government congresses in the state were “cooked up.”
The defendants are APC, Oyegun, National Secretary of APC, State Chairman of APC, Dr. Tony Macfoy and Mr. Sam Para.
Apart from Dogara, other plaintiffs are Senators Sulaiman Nazif, Isa Hammah Misau and Muhammad Muhammad; Dr. Ibrahim Yakubu Lame; Hon. Ibrahim Zailani; Amb. Yusuf M. Tuggar and Captain Mohammed Bala Jibrin.
The 10 aggrieved stalwarts sought the following reliefs from the Federal High Court, Abuja:
An order of interim injunction restraining the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Defendants by themselves or through their agents, assigns, privies staff or any other person or persons acting through them from recognising, ratifying or according legitimacy to the ward and local government congresses of the All Progressives Congress conducted in Bauchi State on the 5th and 12th day of May respectively, pending the determination of the motion on notice.
An order of interim injunction restraining the Defendants, their agents, cohorts, privies or any other persons deriving authority from recognising the purported ward and local government congresses conducted in Bauchi on 5th and 12th days of May, 2018 respectively.
A declaration that the purported ward and local government congresses of the All Progressives Congress purportedly conducted in Bauchi State on the 5th and 12th days of May 2018 respectively are illegal, invalid, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
A declaration that the results declared by the 5th Respondent pursuant to the purported ward and local government congresses are illegal, invalid, null, void and of no effect whatsoever.
An order restraining the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Defendants from recognising the purported ward and local government congresses of the All Progressives Congress conducted in Bauchi State on the 5th and 12th days of May, 2018 respectively.
An order directing the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Defendants to immediately conduct fresh wards and local government congresses in Bauchi State.
An order restraining the persons who were declared as winners at the purported wards and local government congresses purportedly held on the 5th and 12th days of May, 2018 respectively from parading themselves as executive officers/delegates of the 1st Defendant’s wards and local government Areas of Bauchi State.
An order stopping them from conducting or taking any step to conduct the state congress of the All Progressives Congress or any other congress in Bauchi State pending the determination of the Motion on Notice.
While suit FHC/ABJ/CS/521/2018 has not been assigned by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdu Kafarati, the Speaker wrote a letter to Oyegun (through his counsel) requesting the party to stay action on the state congress today in view of the pending action.
The letter said in part: “The above subject matter refers. We are counsel to the Plaintiffs (hereinafter referred to as “Our Clients”) in the above named suit instituted by the Plaintiffs challenging the legality of the conduct of the Ward and Local Government Congresses purportedly held on the 5th and 12th days of May, 2018 in Bauchi State on whose firm instruction we write.
“We wish to notify your esteemed self of the pendency of the above named suit which we instituted on behalf of our clients to challenge the conduct of the Ward and Local Government Congresses purportedly held on the 5th and 12th days of May, 2018.
“In the said suit, our clients are praying the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja for declaratory and injunctive reliefs against the All Progressives Congress, the Principal Officers of the Party and the Committees constituted for the conduct of the said congresses.
“Furthermore, in the pending suit, we also seek Interim and Interlocutory injunctions restraining the Defendants from proceeding with the conduct of the State Congress scheduled to hold in Bauchi State on Saturday the 19th day of May, 2018.
“Please find attached copies of the court’s processes in respect of the pending Suit for your information and proper guidance.
“Take notice therefore, that the planned or forthcoming state congress slated for Saturday, the 19th day of May, 2018, must not hold in view of the long settled principle of law that when a suit is pending in court, parties are not allowed to take steps that will have nugatory effect on the outcome of the suit or foist on the court a fait accompli.
“Further take notice that any attempt to proceed with the planned or forthcoming state congress in Bauchi State on Saturday the 19th May, 2018, would be an affront on the judiciary as same is now subjudice.
“Consequently, we request that you use your good offices to ensure that APC, the ruling party, conforms with the tenets of the rule of law by ensuring that the forthcoming APC state congress in Bauchi State is suspended forthwith pending the determination of the above captioned suit.”
In an affidavit by Hon. Maryam Garba Bagel (Dass Constituency, Bauchi State House of Assembly), she said: “That I know as a fact that the purported Ward and Local Government Congresses of the 1st Defendant purportedly conducted in Bauchi State on 5th and 12th May 2018 were fraught with widespread irregularities from the initial preparations to the eventual conduct of the purported conduct of the congresses.
“That the Party Constitution and Congress guidelines were observed in breach during the conduct of the purported congresses thereby disenfranchising many aspirants and members of the party from participation.
“That I know as a fact that members of the party in my constituency were gathered at the venue for the ward congress but were dispersed by security operatives at the instance of the State Government.
“That agent of the State Government thereafter cooked up results of the purported elections at the various wards and forwarded same to the Ward Congress Committee.
“That the Ward Congress is the root upon which the conduct of Local and State Government Congresses is predicated, and as same has turned out to be a total fiasco, there is the need by this Honourable Court to nullify same.”