Aggrieved APC members ask court to stop convention
•Govs to decide convention date Sunday •APC Governors Forum DG demands Buni’s resignation
SOME aggrieved members of the All Progressive Congress (APC) have dragged the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) before a Federal High Court in Abuja over plans to hold a national convention of the party in February. The plaintiffs want an order of the court restraining the CECPC from going ahead with the convention.
Already, the Progressives Governors Forum has planned a meeting for this weekend in Abuja to discuss issues relating to the national convention of the party fixed for February. The plaintiffs, Suleiman Dimas Usman, Muhammed Shehu, Samaila Isahaka, Idris Isah and Audu Emmanuel, joined the APC, the CECPC chairman and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as defendants in the suit dated January 4, 2022.
In the suit numbered FHC/ ABJ/CS/3/2022, the plaintiffs, through their lawyer, Olusola Ojo, prayed the court for an order to stop the convention on the grounds that state congresses are yet to be completed in all the 36 states of the federation.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit. However, the party will meet Sunday to decide a definite date for the convention. The party is hoping that a date in February is still feasible as it has come under pressure from President Muhammadu Buhari to clean up its act or lose power to the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The chairman of the Northern Governors Forum and governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, who met with the president at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Friday, told newsmen that the Sunday meeting would centre on the proposed date for the convention.
He said Buhari’s admonition to the party that it risked losing power to the PDP was a signal for the party to have a seamless convention so that it would not disintegrate. He said the governors had now given the president the assurance that the convention would hold in February. According to him, the president’s warning is for the party to redouble its effort and do the right thing.
On whether the party could cause the withdrawal of ongoing court cases against the convention, he said the legal tussle might not necessarily affect the conduct of the exercise.
He said: “There are procedures to holding court processes. Many of the court processes were there when we set up the caretaker committee, but up to this moment, if you go to take a census of some of the court proceedings, you will realise that a lot of them have been resolved out of court. So, it is still the duty of the party, it is still part of the functions of the party to resolve.
“But we must not wait to resolve all court presses before you go for the convention. I don’t think so because there are also machinery for resolving court processes even after the convention. “I had a court process in my state, that did not stop me from going on and at the end of the day, we resolved the court process and we are still going on, preparing and waiting for the convention.”
On whether the APC can meet the speculated February 5 date for the convention in view of the need for a mandatory 21-day notice to INEC, he said: “Well, I’m not the chairman of the convention committee, but I want to assure you that we have called a meeting for Sunday and if there is a meeting on Sunday, and you are thinking about next Friday. Just wait and see what will happen before next Friday. I don’t want to draw a conclusion now.”
Meanwhile, the Director-General of the forum of governors on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, Salihu Lukman, has called for the resignation of Buni as the chairman of the party’s CECPC.
Lukman, in a letter dated January 5, 2022, and addressed to the Kebbi State governor and chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, expressed doubt over the sincerity of the committee as regards the February date of the convention.
In the letter titled ‘APC National Convention: Urgent Matters for the Survival of APC’, the PGF DG, who also called for the sack of national secretary of the party, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, alleged that the CECPC under the leadership of Buni was using the ongoing national reconciliation assignment given to a former Nasarawa State governor, Abdullahi Adamu, as an excuse to abort the national convention.
Lukman also alleged that Governor Buni was plotting to succeed himself as national chairman at the national convention.