Yesterday 27th October 2021. I led a few of our leaders (APC DEMOCRATS) to appear before the Barr. Fatima Zahra Umar’s State Congress Appeal Committee that is in Lagos to hear appeals and interrogate what happened at the purported State Congress held on Saturday 16th October, 2021.
The sitting held at the meeting hall of the State Secretariat on ACME road, Ogba where the team appeared for over two hours before the panel. The summary of issues laid before the Panel is attached for your perusal. The issue of illegal, breach of extant laws and guidelines of the Party and contempt of Court embarked upon by Chief Adebayo Adelabu and his arrogant disregard of Court judgement were laid before the Panel.
Gentlemen, on October 6, 2021, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, delivered a landmark ruling, with great implications for Lagos State as an entity, our great Party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the future of political leadership in our dear state.
His Lordship, Hon. Justice Obiora Atuegwu Egwuatu in his judgement in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/548/2021; Fouad Oki V. All Progressives Congress (APC) and Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), on the legality of APC to hold its Congresses in its Lagos State Chapter based on the unconstitutional balkanisation of 57 Local Government Councils and Local Government Development Areas as opposed to the 20 (Twenty) Local Government Areas and 245 (Two Hundred and Forty-Five) Wards in Lagos State in view of Section 3(2), (6) and part 1 of the First Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered); Section 156 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended); and Article 33(i) of the All Progressives Congress Constitution, 2014 (as amended) and the All Progressives Congress Guidelines for State Congresses. The Certified True Copy (CTC) of the judgement, is hereby attached.
In the course of the proceedings, our great Party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) deposed to an affidavit in support of our contention held that, the Party “a creation of statute, does not deal with Wards and Local Government Areas in Lagos State that are not validly created and duly recognised by the law and Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended”.
The Party further conceded “that it is bound to conduct the Ward, Local Government and State Congresses in Lagos State Chapter in the Constitutionally recognised Local Government Areas in Lagos State”.
I averred in my deposition that in 2018, the Party held its Congresses on the basis of the balkanised Wards on 5th day of May 2018 as confirmed in my tendered affidavit marked as Exhibit F9 which is a copy of the APC Appeal Committee for Lagos State (held between 7th May and 9th May 2018 led by Barr. Murtala Abdul-Rasheed Esq that “the Appeal Committee’s observation that the Local Government Congresses in Lagos State were held in a combined 57 Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas contrary to para 2(g) of the 1st Defendant’s 2018 Guidelines for Wards, Local Government Areas and State Congresses”. (Italic mine). see page 31 of the judgement.
With the plethora of indisputable facts placed before the court, little wonder it came to the landmark conclusion on the future of the state, with major consequences for those currently enjoying supposed mandates from the invalidated 2021 exercise should note that, the Court in its wisdom stated that
“In view of section 3(2), (6) and Part 1 of the First Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered); Section 156 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and the decision of the Supreme Court in Attorney General of the Lagos State v. Attorney of the Federation (2004) 18 NWLR (pt. 904) 1, it is unconstitutional and illegal to allow the 1st Defendant to conduct its schedule congresses in Lagos State based on unconstitutional balkanisation of the 57 Local Governments Councils and Local Development Areas as purportedly extant in Lagos State”. (See p.37 of the judgement).
Accordingly, all the the reliefs we sought were granted (see P 39 – 42 of the judgement). We are here today, because those who consider themselves the gods of the party in Lagos State, unfortunately repeated the mistake of 2018, inexorably bringing the same fate that just befell the 2018 exercise, upon the 2021 exercise. How does the judgement affect the 2021 exercise, when delegates were reportedly polled from only the 20 LGAs and 254 wards in the state?
The judgement only recognizes, in view of Section 3(2), (6) and part 1 of the First Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered); Section 156 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended); and Article 33(i) of the All Progressives Congress Constitution, 2014 (as amended) and the All Progressives Congress Guidelines for State Congresses on delegates that emanated from 245 (Two Hundred and Forty-Five) Wards, either elected or statutory.
Therefore, all statutory delegates, current Councillors, Vice Chairmen and Chairmen that are products of the balkanised Local Government and Local Council Development Areas in Lagos State are not only unqualified but ineligible to participate in any Congress of the Party in Lagos State; as their participation has created an odious environment around the purported exercise.
It is trite to say that, in the eye of the law, based on this judgement which has not been appealed, Lagos State currently has no LGAs, known to the Nigerian Constitution. Arising from this, all the delegates from the 254 wards (Councillors) and the 20 delegates (chairmen) from the balkanised 20 LGAs, who participated in the supposed state congress that allegedly produced the purported State Executive Committee members of our party in Lagos, should not have been in the exercise. Their participation has rendered the entire exercise null and void, ultra vires and of no moment.
Making our case, before the Appeal Panel, we have asked for the cancellation of the exercise and demanded a re-run to be strictly monitored by the national headquarters with quality umpires who are stout, stable and will uphold respect for the rule of law, fair and will ensure a level playing ground.
We appeal to all conscientious members of the party that, victora ascerta God willing.