The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it will not join issues in a suit seeking to void the one-year tenure extension granted the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and other members of the National Working Committee (NWC).
Rather, the electoral body, in a counter-affidavit, said it would abide by the outcome of the suit.
Moving the counter-affidavit deposed to by one Ibrahim Sani Mohammed, INEC’s counsel, Mr. Idris Yakubu submitted: “My Lord, we decided not to file any process; either in support or in opposition to the suit. We want to remain neutral and will be bound by the judgment of this court.”
Meanwhile, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba has fixed May 14 to deliver judgment in two separate suits seeking to sack Odigie-Oyegun and other executives of the party, upon expiration of their tenure in June.
The suits are direct fallout of the APC National Executive Council (NEC)’s decision to extend the four-year tenure of the party officials due to expire on June 30, by one year.
Aggrieved by that decision, four members of the party- Ademorin Kuye from Lagos State; Sani Mayanchi from Zamfara and the current Publicity Secretary of the party in the state; Are Mutiu, also from Lagos, and Machu Tokwat from Kaduna, maintained that the action of the APC NEC was illegal.
Others listed in the suit are officials of the party at the national, state, local government, and ward level across the country. Cited as first to fourth defendants in the suit were INEC, APC, Odigie-Oyegun and the party’s National Organising Secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso.
The first plaintiff, Kuye, told the court that he is aspiring to run for the office of the National Legal Adviser of the APC while other plaintiffs said they want to run for offices of the chairman of the party; in their respective states–Zamfara, Lagos and Kaduna.
Another aggrieved party member, Mr. Okere Nnamdi, had a separate suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/219/2018, claiming that he intends to become the chairman of APC in Imo.
He equally asked the court to compel INEC to reject, cease to recognize and to stop dealing or having any official communications with the Odigie-Oyegun led NWC of the APC, effective from June 1, 2018, having spent the constitutionally allowed tenure of office.
Specifically, the plaintiff urged the court to among other things, determine “whether or not the National Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress has the constitutional powers to extend the tenure of the National Working Committee, State Working Committee, Local Government Area Executive Committee and Ward Executive Committee of the All progressives (APC) by one year or by any day howsoever purported; in view of Section 223 (1) (a) and (2) (a) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and section 85 (3) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).”
The court adjourned the matter after all the parties adopted final briefs of argument in both suits.