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Court vacates order stopping APC March 26 Convention

An Abuja High Court sitting in Kubwa yesterday vacated the order restraining the All Progressives Congress, APC, from holding its national convention on March 26. The trial Judge, Justice Bello Kawu who delivered the ruling held that a member of a political party could not bring an action against the party as pronounced by the Supreme Court in Aguma vs APC, 2021, 14 NWLR Part 1796 Page 351 Paragraph 406.

The judge noted this, when he made the restraining injunction on November 18, 2021, stopping the APC, the Chairman of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from organising any convention until the determination of the suit, was the position of the law when it was made before same. The earlier order of the court followed an application by an aggrieved member of the APC, Hon. Salisu Umoru, seeking to restrain the APC, Governor Buni, and the INEC from organising any convention until the determination of the suit.

However, at the resumed hearing, Counsel to APC and Buni, Shuaibu Aruwan SAN, informed the court of his intent to move a motion dated March 9, 2022, challenging the jurisdiction of the court, ahead of the motion by the claimants challenging the abridgment of time, adding that the court may consolidate both motions and take them simultaneously. But claimant counsel, Mike Enahoro Eba opposed the application on the grounds that it was not ripe for hearing, having been served on March 11, which requires seven days for a reply under Order 43 Rule 1(3) of the court.

In a short ruling, the court held that whether the matter was served on 9th or 11th of March it was ripe for hearing, and ordered Eba to move the motion. In moving the motion, Eba submitted that the hearing notices served on parties for hearing on March 15 instead of March 30, which abridged the time set by the court was an alien to the rules. He accused the APC of being contemptuous of the court and urged it to set aside all actions taken during the pendency of the restraining injunction such as the committee, their appointment and inauguration, including a notification for the March 26 convention. In objecting to the motion, Aruwan argued that there was a letter of agreement by lawyers in the matter for the abridgment of the time, he submitted that the allegation of contempt against the party could only be made through Contempt Proceedings of Forms 48 and 49 and not by motion.

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