APC’s Feb. Convention Shaky as a members drag Buni to court
Govs Meet Tomorrow
The internal crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress over the February convention may have worsened with some members dragging the Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee before a Federal High Court in Abuja.
This is even as there were strong indications yesterday that APC governors may decide the date for the national convention of the party tomorrow.
But the applicants were seeking an order of the court to restrain the Buni-led CECPC from going ahead with the convention.
The plaintiffs in the suit dated January 4, 2022, were Suleiman Dimas Usman, Muhammed Shehu, Samaila Isahaka, Idris Isah and Audu Emmanuel.
The APC, Chairman of APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee and the Independent National Electoral Commission were listed as 1-3 defendants in the court processes obtained by journalists in Abuja yesterday.
The plaintiffs in the case with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/3/2022, filed through their lawyer, Olusola Ojo, prayed the court for an order to stop the convention on the ground that state congresses were yet to be completed in all the 36 states of the federation.
The plaintiffs raised five questions for the court to determine and also sought eight declarative reliefs. Some of the reliefs included an order of the court restraining the 1st and 2nd defendants from organising and conducting the national convention of the 1st defendant unless state congresses of the 1st defendant were first concluded in all the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
They also prayed for an order of the court directing the 1st and 2nd defendants to first conduct state congresses of the 1st defendant in Anambra and Zamfara states before the national convention of the 1st defendant could be scheduled and conducted.
However, party stakeholders believe that a convention date in February was still feasible even as the pressure to tidy up its home or risk loosing power to the main opposition party mounts.
Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum and governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, who met with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday, told newsmen that the Sunday meeting would revolve around the proposed date for the convention.
He said Buhari’s admonition that the party risks losing power to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was a signal for the stakeholders to have a seamless convention to avert disintegration.
He said the governors have now given the president the assurance that the convention would hold in February. According to him, the president’s warning was for the party to redouble efforts and do the right thing.
The Governor observed that the APC was made up of different interests, saying, “what matters is that at the end of the day, we will elect our representatives.”
Fielding questions on what the party leaders were doing to avert President Buhari’s warning from coming to fruition, the governor said: “Yes, I agree that all the times there are meetings, especially taking final decisions on the party, I’m always part of it and part of it was also why I visited the President and the President still stands committed that there must be an immediate convention.
“You know, when convention is coming there are fears here and there; some people will tell you it will work, it will not work. I don’t want to jump to conclusion, but the visit to the President has already assured us and you know that there is already a notice that all the governors are meeting on Sunday. By Sunday we will tell you when we are doing the convention.
“We’ve taken a date already. I think our first date before Christmas was that we are going to do convention in February and we are still working for the convention as far as I’m concerned, except things change from another angle. But as far as I’m concerned, we are working for our convention in February.
“These are things that the President was raising his fears. But we have already given him assurances that nothing will stop us from having a very peaceful election. Some parties have done their own; the PDP did their own, nothing will stop APC from doing their own.
“So, all the fears that we are talking about, which the President also re-echoed, are also telling the governor’s please do more, and keep the party alive. So, by God’s grace, we are going to put our party alive.”
Continuing, Lalong said steps would be taken to address all the contending issues concerning the conduct of the convention.
“These are things we are going to discuss. But I’m not drawing conclusion. I always tell you that a political party is a cumulation of interests. The interests may be the same; they may not be the same, but at the end of the day, what we will do is that we are going to elect people who are going to represent us,” he said.
On whether the party could cause the withdrawal of ongoing court cases against the convention, he noted that legal tussles might not necessarily affect the conduct of the exercise.
“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’s still the duty of the party; it’s still part of the functions of the party to resolve.
“But we must not wait to resolve all court processes before you go for convention. I don’t think so because there are also machineries for resolving court process, even after convention,” he added.