Game on, Court Vacates Order Stopping APC’s Convention, Akpanudoedehe Returns - VybezTV
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Game on, Court Vacates Order Stopping APC’s Convention, Akpanudoedehe Returns

Game on, Court Vacates Order Stopping APC’s Convention, Akpanudoedehe Returns

Justice Bello Kawu of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), sitting at Kubwa, yesterday vacated an order of his court restraining the All Progressives Congress (APC), from going ahead with its planned National Convention, pending the hearing and determination of a suit against its conduct.

Also yesterday, the Chairman, Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the APC, Mai Mala Buni, met with his supposedly sacked Secretary, John Akpanudoedehe, at the party’s secretariat, thus dispelling the rumour that the latter had been removed.
Justice Kawu vacated the order stalling APC’s National Convention following an application by the party to that effect.

An aggrieved member of the APC, Salisu Umoru, had approached the court for an exparte order of injunction to temporarily restrain the defendants, which included the APC; Chairman of CECPC, Governor Mai Mala Buni; and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from conducting the planned convention slated for March 26, 2021.

Justice Kawu, having found the application meritorious on November 18, 2021 granted the other.
However, dissatisfied and desirous of working in accordance with the timetable of INEC, the APC early in March, this year, approached the court to set aside the said order so as to pave a way for the conduct of the scheduled convention.

Delivering ruling in the application as moved by Shuaib Aruwan, SAN, Justice Bello Kawu, held that the Plaintiff lacked the locus to sustain the restraining order.
According to the judge, the order of injunction issued against the APC on November 18, 2021, had been overtaken by a recent judgment the Supreme Court delivered on a similar matter.

He subsequently vacated the order and adjourned the Plaintiff’s substantive suit till March 30 for hearing.
Justice Kawu had on November 18, 2021, while ruling in an exparte application, halted the APC convention to enable him reach a decision in the originating summons by Honourable Salisu Umoru challenging 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 of interlocutory injunction restraining the 1st and 2nd defendants and their agents from organising, holding or conducting the 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.
The Plaintiff had, among other things, prayed the court to direct the APC and its CECPC Chairman, to halt further action on the planned convention, pending the resolution of legal cases involving the party.

He equally sought an order directing Buni to begin the reconciliation process to resolve all the disputes that emanated from the local government congresses that were conducted by the party.
In granting the request last November, the judge warned that the subject matter of the case was now subjudice and must not be tampered with.

Akpanudoedehe Remains Secretary

Buni met with Akpanudoedehe yesterday at the party’s secretariat, thus dispelling the rumour that the latter had been sacked.
Aides of Buni pushed out photographs from the meeting and unofficially confirmed that Akpanudoedehe had resumed as secretary and that the two men met “to continue preparations along the line of scheduled activities.”

A source at the meeting added: “Contrary to reports claiming that CECPC had removed its secretary, the leadership of the party has declared that his office remains intact. In line with President Buhari’s directive that things should go back to status quo, Akpanudoedehe remains the Secretary.

In an interview yesterday, Akpanudoedehe also confirmed that he remains the party’s secretary, noting that President Buhari’s directive that status quo ante be maintained, solidified that position.
Akpanudoedehe said: “Our Chairman (Buni) cannot go against the instruction of the President. In his last letter, the President has given the directive that the status quo ante should remain. The Chairman is a very brilliant man, he respects the President and will not go against that.

“I am the National Secretary of APC and the Constitution is very clear on that. The INEC has said for you to sack any of us, you need 21 days’ notice. I want to also thank the APC for giving content to the media houses to sell their papers. We have promoted your economy in the last month.

“I should be celebrated for standing with the Chairman. We should celebrate loyalty, integrity. You can only celebrate good. Why would I be punished for standing with the chairman? It is a virtue. So, nothing has changed in APC. I remain the National Secretary and reconciliation efforts are ongoing. It is one party.”
Meanwhile, the Buni-led APC caretaker committee has continued efforts at reconciling aggrieved members of the party ahead of the March 26 National Convention.

Reconciliatory efforts, it was gathered, were to ensure that the forthcoming Convention is seamless and that party stakeholders and members are united for a successful outing at the convention and at the general elections.
Buni was said to have started meeting with aggrieved Chieftains of the party across board in this regard.
For months, there has been internal wrangling in the party over the National Convention.
There were allegations that Buni had perfected plans to scuttle the party’s national convention in order to remain as Caretaker Chairman.

Buni and John Akpanudoedehe, CECPC’s Secretary, were alleged to have used a third party to obtain the court order temporarily restraining the ruling party from holding its convention until the substantive suit is heard and determined.

Nasir el-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna, on March 9, alleged that Buni’s lawyers colluded with a petitioner to “destroy” the National Convention.
He described the said court order as a “hidden nuclear weapon” that would have hampered the party’s chances in the 2023 general election.
Last Thursday, Buni, who returned to Abuja, and back to his job as caretaker chair, after the failed coup to remove him, said the party was at the finishing line of its preparations for the March 26 National Convention.

He also thanked his Niger State counterpart, Abubakar Bello, for his efforts while he was away.
Buni’s comments came after his return from a medical trip to Dubai and meeting with President Buhari in London over the leadership crisis rocking the party.
The leaders, who met at the Yobe State Governors’ Lodge in Asokoro, were flanked by members of the caretaker committee except for Akpanudoedehe.

Buni stated, “You know that since I travelled, the party has not stopped. His Excellency (Bello) has done very well in managing the affairs of the party. We are here to discuss the issues going forward.
“We are now at the finishing line in the preparations for our National Convention, which is at hand. We are putting heads together to achieve this task ahead. I want to emphasise that the March 26 National Convention is sacrosanct.”

On Akpanudoedehe’s absence from the meeting, Buni explained, “You know that this is not a formal meeting of the committee. These members of the CECPC just came to welcome me back to the country and wish me well after returning from a medical trip outside the country.
“So, it is not a formal meeting that one will ask whether the secretary is here or not. However, he was in the house earlier today.”

In a separate statement, Buni pledged not to reverse the decisions taken in his absence, especially with regards to the membership of the sub-committees set up to plan the convention.
Earlier on Thursday, the APC had released a new list of the sub-committees showing that there had been a minor shake-up.
In a statement shortly after, however, Buni said he would not be reversing the actions of Bello and asked members of the public to discountenance the new list.

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