Court strikes out suit against Buni-led APC caretaker committee


The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday, struck out two separate suits asking for the dissolution of the Mai-Mala Buni-led Caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The suits had also urged the court to nullify the National Executive Committee (NEC) June 25, 2020 meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari.

However, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, in a judgment, held that the plaintiffs had no locus standi (legal rights) to institute the matter.

Justice Taiwo said that the issues brought before the court were purely internal affairs of the APC which the court had no jurisdiction on.

According to the judge, the issues are not justiciable.

The first suit was filed by a chieftain of the APC, Hilliard Eta, the second suit was instituted by a former Youth Leader of the party in Abia, Kalu Agu.

But both suits specifically sought an order of the court on the legality or otherwise of the June 17, 2020 National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting which dissolved the National Working Committee (NWC) and appointed a National Caretaker Committee led by Governor Mai-Mala Buni of Yobe.

The NEC of the APC had at its meeting held at the Presidential Villa dissolved the party’s NWC led by the then National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.

The NEC, at the meeting presided over by the President Buhari set up the caretaker committee and appointed Governor Buni to head the committee.

He was sworn in by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.

The meeting was attended by the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; Senate President, Ahmed Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; governors elected on the platform of the party and other party stakeholders.

Prior to the June 25 NEC meeting, the party had been enmeshed in serious crisis, during which about three persons laid claim to the position of the national chairman at the same time, coupled with conflicting court judgments obtained by the warring factions.

The raging crisis had prompted the NEC to summon the meeting, during which it passed a resolution to give the Buni-led interim committee a six-month tenure within which to organise a national convention to produce the substantive leaders of the party.

Ruling on the preliminary objections filed by the defendants, the judge held that the plaintiffs did not show nor prove how the dissolution of the NWC on June 17, 2020 by 16 out of 20 members of APC NEC infracted on their civil rights and obligation more than any other member of the party.

“There must be a nexus between a plaintiff and the cause of action” he said.

In the first suit which Taiwo delivered judgment on, Mr Eta, who filed the case, listed APC as 1st plaintiff and himself as the 2nd plaintiff.

However, the judge held that the 1st plaintiff did not fit in properly into who a plaintiff is, while the 2nd plaintiff (Hilliard Eta) “referred himself as a regular member of the party.”

According to Justice Taiwo, the court found out that for the APC to be a plaintiff, there must be existence of a faction.

“In an affidavit deposed to by the 2nd plaintiff, there was nowhere he claimed to belong to a faction,” he ruled.

The judge then struck out the name of APC as a party in the suit.

“I’m of the well considered view that issues raised by the plaintiff are not justiciable Issues; they are issues of internal affairs of a political party,” he said.

Justice Taiwo, therefore, said that having resolved the issues raised by the defendants in their favour, “it will amount to a sheer waste of time to consider the substantive matter.”

The judge, who struck out the case, also rejected the suit filed by Mr Agu on the same matter.