Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni
Ekiti State All Progressives Congress members loyal to former Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu have urged the court to sack Governor Mai Mala Buni as Chairman, Caretaker Committee of the party.
The members, under the aegis of South West Agenda for Asiwaju 2023, a group rooting for Tinubu’s rumoured presidential bid, also urged the court to nullify all actions taken by Buni as APC Caretaker Committee Chairman and as well annul the July 31 ward congresses of the party in Ekiti State.
The SWAGA members made the prayers in a suit number FHC/AD/CS/21/2021 filed at the Federal High Court, Ekiti State Division, where it had also sought an interlocutory injunction stopping the conduct of the local government congress which held in Saturday “or an order declaring the outcome illegal”.
Joined in the suit deposed to by 36 SWAGA members and contestants in the ward congresses on behalf of over 3,650 members of the group in Ekiti was filed by their lawyers, Barrister Ayodeji Odu and five others for the plaintiffs, are APC (1st defendant), Mai Mala Buni(2nd defendant), Ekiti APC Chairman, Paul Omotoso (3rd defendant), Chairman, Ekiti Congress Screening Committee, Samuel Abejide (4th defendant) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (5th defendant).
Among others, the applicants are seeking from the court “a declaration that the 2nd defendant (Buni) cannot hold the position of Chairman, Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Committee of the 1st defendant (APC) as such appointment/role is a constitutional violation of Section 187 of the 1999 Constitution as amended and Article 8 of the 1st defendant’s constitution.
“A declaration that all actions or steps taken by the 1st defendant (APC) under the control, supervision, direction of the so called caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of APC, headed by the 2nd defendant, including the conduct of ward congresses across Nigeria and Ekiti State on 31st July, 2021 was illegal and unconstitutional on the ground that the 2nd defendant (Buni) under whose such steps or actions were taken was ineligible to superintend over 1st defendant party affairs while still serving in office as a Governor.
“A declaration that all committee/Ward congress committees set up by the 3rd defendant pursuant to the Ward Congress of 31st July 2021 was unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and in total violation of the guidelines of the 1st defendant on conduct of the congress”.
The SWAGA members also sought “a declaration that no congress was held in Ekiti-State chapter of the 1st defendant as no result has been declared in respect of the congress as at the date of filing this case”.
They also sought “an order declaring the congress of the 1st defendant purportedly held on the July 31 and organized and conducted by or under the instruction/supervision of 2nd and 3rd defendants in Ekiti State as unconstitutional, illegal, null and void”.
They also prayed the court to declare that the congress of the 1st defendant purportedly held in Ekiti-State on the 31st day of July 2021 was in total breach of democratic norms and practices and violation of the Constitution and guidelines issued by the 1st defendant for the conduct of the 2021 ward congresses.
They also sought “an injunction restraining the 1st and 3rd defendants from conducting any further congresses into local government and state offices of 1st defendant in Ekiti State pending the determination of the substantive matter”.
The plantiffs asked for an injunction restraining the 5th defendant (INEC) from recognizing or dealing with any ward executive or officers purportedly produced from the purported ward congress of 31st July, 2021 in Ekiti State.
SWAGA State Chairman, Senator Tony Adeniyi, who said INEC and APC had been duly served, accused Buni, Omotoso and Abejide of evading service.
Adeniyi said, “Having realised that these defendants are trying to obstruct justice by evading service of papers, we are going to file a motion for substituted service on Monday September 6 before the court to make the service easier and for expeditious trial of the case”.
But the Secretary of Congress Committee in Ekiti, Femi Akindele, said whoever approached the court without exhausting internal mechanism to seek redress would be doing such in flagrant violation of the party’s constitution and guidelines.
Akindele said that the local government congress conducted in Ekiti on Saturday was undertaken without violating the constitution of the party and the 1999 constitution of Nigeria, saying the suit did not vitiate the process already undertaken.