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Justice Nathaniel Ayo-Emmanuel of an Osogbo Federal High Court on Wednesday declined jurisdiction in the suit filed by the 2, 517 aggrieved members of the All Progressives Congress against the last ward congress of the party in Osun state.
Ayo-Emmanuel in the ruling, which lasted about one hour, 30 minutes, held that issues relating to congresses remain a domestic affair of political parties that court could not adjudicate upon and struck out the matter.
Claimants belonging to a faction of the party enjoying the backing of the Ministry of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, had approached the court, through their lawyer, Mahmud Adesina SAN, alleging they were unjustly deprived right to participate in the July 31st, 2021 ward congress of the party.
They claimed that they fulfilled all conditions to participate but were deprived and sought nullification of the exercise.
Joined as respondents in the matter include; the National Secretariat of the APC, Chairman of Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Committee of the APC, Governor Mai Mala Buni, Chairman of the Ward Congress Committee, Gbenga Elegbeleye, Chairman of Ward Congress Appeal Committee in the state, Obed Wadzani, the State of Osun chapter of the party and the Independent National Electoral Commission.
But counsel to APC caretaker chairman, Dr. Mubaraq Adekilekun, said the claimants could not sue his client, due to immunity that he enjoys as a serving governor.
Adekilekun also questioned the jurisdiction of the court to hear and determine the matter being an internal issue of a political party.
Responding to APC and Buni’s preliminary objections, Adesina insisted that the court had jurisdiction to entertain the matter since it has to do with non-compliance with the guidelines for the ward congress of the party.
According to him, respondents did not comply with APC guidelines on the ward congress, saying they foisted consensus option on many party members, despite the fact that people obtained form to contest for party positions.
Giving his ruling on the preliminary objections filed by the respondents, Justice Ayo-Emmanuel, said the matters involved in the suit basically revolved around the internal affairs of a political party.
He said the Supreme Court already held that the court must not interfere with the internal issue of party unless it falls under Section 87(9) of the Electoral Act and he subsequently struck out the matter for lack of jurisdiction.
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