2023: SIT – TIGHT POLITICAL APPOINTEES DARE BUHARI. – Drags APC, INEC to court over disqualification threats

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.Three aspirants have sued the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over threats to disqualify them from participating in the 2023 general election.

The aspirants – Mr Sodique Abubakar, Mr Sodique Lawal Abubakar and Mr Bindir Buba are praying the Federal High Court, Abuja, to stop the APC and INEC from disqualifying them because they are political appointees.

The suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/641/2022 was filed on their behalf by Mr Adeniyi Akintola (SAN).

The plaintiffs argued that Section 84 (11) and (12) of the new Electoral Act was discriminatory against them and unconstitutional and therefore should not be permitted by the court to be used to disqualify them on account of their being political appointees.

They prayed the court to determine whether being Nigerians covered by sections 66, 177, 182 of the 1999 Constitution, they could be subjected to any other conditions, rules or guidelines other than the qualifications and criteria set out in sections 66, 177 and 182 of the constitution.

This they said was for the purpose of election into the office of governor of Bauchi State and members of the House of Representatives.

They also asked the court to determine whether as card carrying members of APC they could be prevented from participating in political convention, congress or primaries just because they were political appointees.

The trio also asked the court to determine whether the directive of the APC based on Section 184 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022 that political appointees must resign their positions 30 days before they can participate in its convention, congress or primaries was constitutional.

They asked the court to declare upon resolution of the issues in their favour, that the APC’s directive that political appointees should resign from their posts as a result of Section 84 (11) and (12) of the Electoral Act 2022 was unconstitutional, null and void.

They also asked the court to declare as unconstitutional, the APC’S directive that political appointees must resign from their positions before they could participate as voting delegates or be voted for in the convention or primaries of the party.

They called for an order of injunction restraining the APC and INEC either by themselves or agents from preventing them from attending and participating in party congress, convention or primaries.

In a 26-paragraph affidavit in support of the suit, the 1st plaintiff, Sodique Abubakar claimed to be a political appointee and currently serving as Nigeria’s ambassador to the Republic of Chad.

The 2nd Plaintiff, Sodique Lawal Abubakar claimed to be a Special Assistant in the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) while the 3rd defendant, Bindir Buba said he was the National Coordinator, Social Investment Program in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.

They averred that they had obtained expression of interest forms to feature in the primaries of the APC for nomination as candidates in the 2023 election.

The affidavit deposed by Oluwafemi Abimbola, a legal practitioner on behalf of the plaintiffs averred that sections 65, 66, 107, 131, 137,177 and 182 of the 1999 constitution covered qualification requirements for aspirants seeking political positions in the country.

They contended that Article 2 of APC Constitution affirmed the supremacy of Nigeria’s Constitution.

No date has however, been fixed for hearing of the suit.

It is believed that some Ministers affected by President Mohammadu Buhari order for all political appointees to resign are behind the court action. How all these plays out is yet to been seen.

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