Contrary to media report, Mr. Abdul-Ahmed Olorunfemi Mustapha has not withdrawn his petition challenging the conduct of the May 26 All Progressives Congress Governorship Primary in Lagos State.
The governorship aspirant has equally disclosed that the Appeal Panel of the party sought his cooperation to drop the challenge he mounted against the exercise, to avoid a repeat of the Zamfara and Rivers States scenarios of 2019 when the party ended up without lawful governorship candidates, in the two states.
Speaking through his counsel, Barrister Abdulmojeed Oloyede Esq, the governorship aspirant requested the party leadership to make public the outcome of the screening exercise conducted for all aspirants in the State, which necessitated his alleged disqualification.
Denouncing the report that his client had capitulated, Oloyede said, “Far from it, my client would not condone injustice in whatever form and until and unless a fair and just result is achieved, my client won’t stop speaking up against flagrant disregard of our extant laws and laid down party guidelines.
“What Mustapha Ahmed did was to submit himself to the Conflict Resolution Mechanism put in place by the party and he is optimistic that justice would be served at the end.”
On the controversial endorsement and what transpired at the appeal proceedings, the counsel said, “On Tuesday, we (Myself and my client) appeared before the Appeal Committee. The hearing was done behind closed doors, the case was presented and argued extensively before the Appeal committee.
The Appeal Committee, thereafter informed us that they don’t have jurisdiction to entertain the issue of disqualification, which is the crux of our Appeal. They opined that the screening appeal commitee is the right panel to hear our appeal.
The Committee honorably informed us that their mandate does not extend beyond the events on the field during the primaries.
“I strongly disagree with the position of the Appeal committee, in paragraph 8 and 9 of our Appeal, we made it known that our client got to know of the purported disqualification at the venue of the primaries (Onikan Stadium) when he was turned back at the gate of the venue.
“It is pertinent to state that our client had no cause to file a complaint before the Appeal Screening Committee because the Appeal Committee did not release a screening report neither did they inform my client that he was not cleared. The primaries took place 12 clear days after the screening exercise and it was only at the venue of the primaries that my client was informed that he was not cleared and no ground for the purported disqualification was adduced till date.
“The Appeal Committee strongly advised my client against litigation to avoid a Zamfara-like situation where the party will not be able to field a candidate at the general polls in Lagos state, the hearing thereafter was brought to an end.
Contrary to the mischievous and deliberate attempt to mislead his supporters and members of the public, the appeal was not withdrawn by my client. The Chairman, Appeal Committee (Alh. Ibrahim Akaje) also reiterated same and made it clear while addressing the press that my client did not withdraw the petition rather the petition was heard.”
On Mustapha’s next course, his counsel disclosed, “Within a reasonable time it is expected that the leadership of the party, will at the party level, give a satisfactory verdict on the genuine complaint of my client. In the event of otherwise my client may be constrained to explore other options within the ambit of the law to ventilate his grievances and protect his fundamental rights as enshrined in the 1999 constitution (as amended).
“Till date, we are yet to unravel the misery behind the purported disqualification. The party is yet to release the screening report despite our repeated demands via letters sent to the National Chairman of All progressives congress and the State Chairman.
“You now wonder what screening report was relied upon to clear the incumbent to participate in the primaries as this was also not disclosed at the hearing of the Appeal filed before the primary Election Appeal Committee
The question begging for answer is, whether or not an exclusive screening report was produced for only the incumbent.
“While not foreclosing the option of seeking redress in the court of law, My client is very passionate and committed to his political party and believed so much in exploring internal mechanisms designed by the party to resolve intra party related issues.”