Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has fixed May 14, 2018 for judgment on a suit challenging the tenure elongation of the National Working Committee (NWC ) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) chaired by Chief John Oyegun.
Justice Dimgba fixed the date after counsel to parties in the suit adopted and argued their written addresses.
Following the decision of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at its meeting of February 27 to extend the tenure of members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) for another one year, some members of the party had approached the court to challenge the decision.
The aggrieved members led by Ademorin Aliu Kioye had on March 15, 2018 secured an ex-parte order directing the defendants to show cause why members of the National Working Committee of the APC should not be barred from parading themselves as national officers of the party.
Respondents in the suit include, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), All Progressives Congress (APC), national chairman of APC, Chief John Oyegun and the national organising secretary of the APC, Senator Osita Izunaso.
When the matter was called yesterday, Ahmed Raji SAN, counsel to the plaintiff, informed the court that the matter was for hearing.
He argued that the matter borders around section 223 of the constitution which fixes the tenure of elected officials of political parties to a maximum of four years.
Raji said one of the questions the court should answer is whether the provision of 223 of the constitution, as regards tenure of political parties’ officials is mandatory.
“We have argued that section 223 of the constitution is mandatory and the philosophy is to ensure political parties conduct their affairs in a democratic way, because what you don’t have you cannot give”, he submitted.
He argued further that the NEC’s decision to unilaterally extend the tenure of the NWC was contrary to section 223 of the constitution and urged the court to avoid any interpretation that would render it useless.
In his response, the first defendant (INEC) said it remains neutral in the suit but, will abide by whatever decision reached by the court.
Other defendants however opposed to the motion and urged the court to dismiss the suit for been premature.
According to Joseph Daudu SAN, counsel to the 2nd defendant, the plaintiffs’ suit is based on speculation as the NEC of the APC did not breach the party’s constitution nor section 223 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
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