By Aderogba George
Abuja – An Abuja High Court in Jabi on Thursday, affirmed Mallam Mohammed Kabiru and Mr Emeka Okegwu as interim National Chairman and interim Secretary of newly-registered All Progressive Democratic Alliance (APDA).
Kabiru and Okegwu were joined by APDA as defendants in a suit by a member of the party, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, who claimed to be the Chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT).
Dokpesi had prayed the court to stop Kabiru and Okegwu from parading themselves as members of the National Executive Committee of the party.
He alleged that the defendants’ tenure as members of the NEC of the party expired on March 14, 2017, based on the letter of appointment allegedly issued to them.
The judge, Justice Yusuf Halilu, while delivering judgment on the matter stated that based on facts before the court, the defendants had assumed office as interim officers of APDA before the purported appointment letter.
‘’Going by exhibits C and D before the court, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had been relating with the defendants before March 14,’’ he said.
Halilu noted that exhibit C, which was the party’s letter of application for registration as a political party dated March 2, 2017 was signed by the interim chairman and secretary.
He added that exhibit D was an INEC reply to the application, saying that as a result of this, the defendants could not have been appointed by Dokpesi.
The judge further held that two contradictory letters written by the party to INEC, informing it of its interim National Working Committee meeting were replied by INEC to the defendants.
He stated that going by Section 7 (1) of APDA Constitution, the meeting of the party’s interim National Working Committee summoned by the interim BoT chairman should not have held.
He said that this was especially so since the section of the constitution stated that two-third of members of the executive committee should notify the chairman to summon such meeting, which did not happen.
According to the judge, whatever decision taken at the said meeting after INEC’s reply to the two contradictory letters could not stand in the eye of the law.
He, therefore, set aside the decision taken at the meeting summoned by Dokpesi, which resulted in the election of Mainasara Ilo as the party’s acting national chairman.
Halilu further held that by the provision of the party’s Constitution, Dokpesi could not have been its interim BoT chairman since he had not spent up to five years as it stipulated.
According to him, since the party was newly registered, Dokpesi could not have spent five years to qualify as a BoT member.
The judge stated that while filing INEC’s form PA1 for registration, the column for BoT was left blank and pointed out that if Dokpesi had been the party’s BoT chairman the column would not have been left blank.
“It is clear that High Chief Dokpesi has acted in violation of the party’s Constitution, all such acts carried out are hereby set aside,” Halilu stated.
“The first and second defendants remain the only national officers and those elected under their supervision,’’ he added. (NAN)