An ex parte prayer to halt the extension of the tenure of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, John Odigie-Oyegun, has been refused by the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The court also refused to end the extension of tenures of other officials of the party at the national, state, local government area, and ward levels across the country.
The APC National Executive Council, NEC, had at its meeting held on February 27, 2018, extended the four-year tenure of the party officials due to expire on June 30, 2018, by one year.
Following the development, four APC members who are aspiring to run for leadership positions of the party, on March 8, 2018, filed a suit challenging the extension of the tenures of the incumbent holders of the executive offices of the party.
The plaintiffs are Ademorin Kuye from Lagos State; Sani Mayanchi from Zamfara State, and currently the Publicity Secretary of the party in the state; Are Mutiu also from Lagos State, and Machu Tokwat from Kaduna State.
While Kuye said he was aspiring to run for the office of the National Legal Adviser of the party; the rest of the three plaintiffs claimed they were aspiring to run for the offices of the chairman of the party in their respective states – Zamfara, Lagos and Kaduna.
The respondents to the suit are the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the All Progressives Congress, APC; National Chairman of the party, Odigie-Oyegun (sued and on behalf of the national, state, local government area, and ward officials of the APC elected between April and June 2014); and the National Organising Secretary of the party, Osita Isunaso.
The plaintiffs’ suit marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/237/2018, also had with it a motion for interlocutory injunctions, and an ex parte motion seeking, among others, prayers for orders temporarily halting the implementation of the tenure extension, pending the hearing of the motion for interlocutory injunction.
Delivering a ruling after the plaintiffs’ counsel, Ahmed Raji, SAN, moved the ex parte motion on Wednesday, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba granted four of the prayers sought in it but rejected three others bordering on interim restraining orders.
In refusing the prayers for the restraining orders, Justice Dimgba held that it would be “improper to grant them without hearing the respondents”.
Granting an acceleration hearing of the suit, the judge said rather than granting the interim orders, the court would rather determine the substantive suit beforeJune 30, when the tenure of the officials would be deemed to be expired.
The judge therefore ordered that the four respondents – INEC, APC, Odigie-Oyegun and Isunaso – be put on notice to enable them to react to the application for interim injunction.
He, however, granted an accelerated hearing of the suit.