The crisis rocking the Kogi State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has assumed a new dimension as 38 of its founding members have approached an Abuja Federal High Court asking for the sack of the Alhaji Abdullahi Bello led State Executive Council and to invalidate all actions taken by it before the 2015 general elections.
The originating summons filed by the three aggrieved members, Ojo Seyi, Owopo Gabriel and Olufemi Olupa for themselves and on behalf of other 35 members registered prior to the 2015 general elections are asking among others:
* Whether in the light of Article 2 and Article 9.1(ll) of the constitution of the All Progressives Congress, the purported membership registration sponsored and conducted by Governor Yahaya Bello, cronies and their agents in Lokoja without the participation or knowledge of the Ward, LGA and State organ of the party is legally valid and can validly produce authentic members.
* Whether the governor of Kogi State and his cronies who are neither elected party officials nor recognised by any section of the constitution as having the power to register or admit members into the party or conduct membership registration and use such members to conduct the election of ward, LGA and state executives of the party in view of Article 2 and 9.1(ll) of the APC Constitution.
* Whether the governor and his cronies can exclude and prevent the authentic members from participating in party affairs generally including nomination and voting for party executives and candidates of their choice during the 2019 election .
Meanwhile, the Federal High Court Abuja, on Friday, ordered parties in the suit challenging the planned adoption of the indirect primary mode by the Kogi APC for the selection of the governorship candidate, not to take any step that could affect the subject of the case, pending its final determination.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo gave the order while ruling on an ex-parte motion with file number: CS/833/19 brought before him by the applicants; Destiny Aromeh, Isa Abubakar, Noah Aku and Joy Onu, who are members of the party.
They are said to be of the Haddy Ametuo-led State Executive Committee (SEC) of the party.
APC, which is the sole respondent in the suit, was represented in the court by Mr Damian Dodo, SAN.
The four aggrieved APC members had, in the suit, asked the court to restrain the party from adopting the Indirect voting mode of selecting its candidate for the Nov. 16 governorship election.
The applicants, who are members of the SEC as well as delegates in the primary election slated for Aug. 29, predicated their actions on the grounds that the indirect system of voting if allowed would not provide a fair and level playing ground for all participants.
Counsel to the plaintiffs, Oluwole Aladedoye, had on Thursday during the hearing, told the court that the planned indirect election was a move to shut out his clients from participating in the poll.
He said that the plaintiffs were members of the SEC for the primary election.
“They are elected state executive members of the defendant (APC) in 2018. They emerged as elected.
“After the election, the governor set up a parallel EXCO in a bid to exclude the plaintiffs from participating in the nomination and the matter is still pending before Justice Okon Abang of this same Hon. court,” he said.
He said “the indirect election is only a mode that allows only the delegates to participate in the poll.
“We cannot allow the defendant to shut us out of the election.”
Aladedoye said that the second application was a motion exparte dated Aug. 7 and filed the same day.
“The motion exparte is brought under Order 26, Rule 6, 7 and 8 of the rules of this court and the inherent jurisdiction of your Lordship.
“The motion prays for an order of interim injunction, restraining the defendant by itself, its organs, agents or any person as so ever described from adopting the indirect mode of primaries for the nomination of the governorship candidate in the forthcoming governorship primaries of 2019 in Kogi, pending the determination of the motion on notice,” he said.
However, APC Counsel, Mr Dodo, who was in court on Friday, said they got information about the development and was in court to represent the party.
He told the judge that Aladedoye had been served with all their processes.
Justice Taiwo held that it would be better to hear and determine the main suit rather than granting the restraining order sought by the plaintiffs.
The judge said: “In view of the urgency of the suit, it will be better to give accelerated hearing than to grant the injunction sought by the plaintiffs.
“In the interest of justice, I will abridge to 10 days the period required for parties to file their responses.”
He held that parties are to maintain status quo in order not to foist a fait accompli on the court by the defendant.
He accordingly adjourned till Aug. 19 for hearing of the substantive suit, adding that all processes including preliminary objection, counter affidavit and replies must be turned in before the hearing date.