There are strong indications that the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s national convention slated for March 26 may not hold.
Apart from the crisis in the party, there is a subsisting court order banning the national convention pending the determination of a suit before it.
A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory had told the APC in late 2021 to halt its planned national convention until the case against the party before the court was heard and determined.
The plaintiff in the matter, Honourable Salisu Umoru, had dragged the APC, the Chairman Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee and Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC before the court to challenge the planned convention.
In the case with suit number FCT/HC/CV/2958/2021 and motion number FCT/HC/M/9655/21, the plaintiff prayed the court for an order interlocutory injunction restraining the 1st and 2nd defendants, allies, agency, representative, associates or whoever is acting for them or through them from organising, holding or conducting a National Convention of the All Progressives Congress in January and February or at any other date either before or after pending the hearing and determination of the suit.
After listening to the counsel on the matter, Justice Bello Kawu of the court, granted the order and restrained the party from going ahead with the convention and also warned that the subject matter of the case is now subjudice and must not be tampered with.
Already, a contempt application has been filed before the court against the March 26 national convention of the party.
The claimant informed the court that the mere inauguration of sub-committees for the March 26 National Convention when the order of the honourable court is in force is a demonstration of disdain for the rule of law in the country.
While March 30, 2022 was fixed for the continuation of the hearing of the substantive suit, no date has been fixed for the commencement of contempt proceedings against the APC.
Again, the ruling party has INEC to contend with as it claimed a provision in the electoral act is not being adhered to by the party.
The electoral umpire had last week written to the APC, informing the party that it has not performed one of the requisite requirements for a valid NEC meeting or national convention.
In the letter signed by Rose Onaran Anthony, Secretary to the Commission, the attention of the APC was drawn to section 82(1) of the electoral act, which provides, “Every registered political party shall give the Commission at least 21 days’ notice of any convention, congress, conference or meeting convened for the purpose of merger and electing members of its executive committees, other governing bodies or nominating candidates for any of the elective offices specified under this Act”.
The implication of the above provision is that the APC will have to send a fresh letter of 21 days notification to INEC the moment the court order is vacated in order to hold its national convention.