The ruling All Progressives Congress National Working Committee (APC NWC), has threatened to expel one of its members and the national vice chairman (Northwest), Salihu Lukman for dragging the national chairman, Abdullahi Adamu and national secretary, Iyiola Omisore, to court over their failure to convene meetings of the relevant Party organs as mandated by its constitution.
The development was contained in a “legal opinion” dispatched to Adamu and Omisore as well as other NWC members by the national legal adviser, Ahmad Usman El- Marzuq, dated April 28.
Lukman, having exhausted all avenues to make his voice heard, gave a seven-day ultimatum to Adamu to commence efforts to convene a meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) where he (Adamu) will give a financial account of the Party.
He also threatened to institute a lawsuit against Adamu should he fail to do the needful within the stipulated timeframe.
To its end, as reported by Information Nigeria, the former Director General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, on Thursday made good his threat to sue Adamu and Omisore.
Lukman also wrote President Muhammadu Buhari, explaining his reasons for dragging the duo to court, saying he was left with no option as they failed to heed his call to be guided by the Party’s constitution.
While efforts to get Lukman’s reaction were not immediately successful, it was learned that the issue would form part of deliberations at Wednesday’s meeting of the NWC.
But, El- Marzuq, in his legal opinion, said he had painstakingly gone through the reliefs sought and the affidavit in support of the Plaintiff’s Originating Summons with a fine-tooth comb and it was his opinion that the suit bordered mainly on the internal or domestic affairs of the Party which had been held in a plethora of decided cases to be non-justiciable.
He stated: “In the case of WAZIRI v. PDP & ANOR (2022) LPELR-58803(CA), it was held thus:
“It is settled law that, no Court has the jurisdiction to hear and determine complaints or matters pertaining to intra-party disputes of political parties.
“It has long been settled by the Supreme Court in Onuoha v. Okafor & Ors. (1983) 14 NSCLR 494 at 499 – 507 that, where the relief sought is on leadership of or intra-party dispute between members of same political party or between a member or/and the political party, only the party can resolve the dispute.
“This is because, a political party is a voluntary organization or association. Persons join political parties of their own choice, therefore, where there is any internal disagreement, it must be resolved by a majority decision of the members. That being so, any dispute over its internal affairs is not justiciable and no Court has jurisdiction to entertain an claim on such dispute.’
While cting several other cases, El-Marzuq said issues bordering on the management of political parties had equally been held to be outside the jurisdiction of the courts.
According to him, in the affidavit in support of the Originating Summons, Lukman made heavy the fact that the meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC), ought to be held every quarter in accordance with the provisions of the Party’s constitution and that the failure to do this had greatly affected the smooth administration of the party.
“However, a cursory look at Article 25.2 (i) of the party’s constitution would reveal that it is not mandatory to convene a meeting of the National Executive Committee every quarter as postulated by the Plaintiff, rather it is at the discretion of the National Working Committee or at the request in writing by one – third of the members of the National Executive Committee.
“For ease of reference, Article 25.2 (i) is reproduced hereunder as follows: ‘The National Executive Committee shall meet every quarter and or at any time decided by the National Working Committee or at the request made in writing by one – third of the members of the National Executive Committee, provided that not less than 14 days notice is given for the meeting’.
“From the above, it is clear that the Party did not breach any provision of its Constitution by not calling for a meeting of NEC)every quarter for the purpose of presenting activities of the Party to the members of NEC as alluded to by the Plaintiff and thus his suit ought to be dismissed by the Court for lacking in merit.
“The Plaintiff’s case revolves around the internal/domestic affairs of the Party which can only be resolved through the internal dispute resolution machinery of the Party. On this point see the Supreme Court case of OSAGIE & ORS vs ENOGHAMA & ORS (2022) LPELR – 58903.
“By resorting to a court action against the party, it is my recommendation that disciplinary measures in accordance with the party’s constitution should be meted out against the Plaintiff, particularly Article 21.5 (v) which states thus: ‘Any member who files an action in court of law against the party or any of its officers on any matter or matters relating to the discharge of duties of the party without first exhausting the avenues for redress provided for in this constitution shall automatically stand expelled from the party on filing such action and no appeal against expulsion as stipulated in this clause shall be entertained until the withdrawal of the action from Court by the member’.”