A former National Vice Chairman and ex-acting chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Hilliard Eta, has asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to nullify the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the party and declare him as the Acting National Chairman of the party.
The National Executive Committee of the APC had at its meeting held at the Presidential Villa on June 25, 2020 dissolved the party’s National Working Committee, led by the then National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.
The NEC, at the meeting presided over by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), set up the caretaker committee and appointed the Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala 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 judgements 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.
Few hours after the dissolution, 18 members of the NWC loyal to Oshiomhole said in a statement that the NEC meeting was illegal. In the statement signed by the then acting National Chairman, Eta, and acting National Secretary, Waziri Bulama, the group made it clear that they were consulting other stakeholders and their lawyers on the dissolution as well as other decisions taken by the NEC.
Eta, who was initially the National Vice Chairman, South-South, had emerged as the acting National Chairman of the party following the inability of the then National Vice Chairman, South, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, to assume the position. The chairman’s position became vacant following the sacking of Oshiomhole by the Court of Appeal in Abuja.
Meanwhile, Eta on November 26, 2020 filed his fresh suit challenging the dissolution of the Oshiomhole-led NWC which he was part of.
He sought various orders of injunction to restrain the Buni-led committee from taking any further steps on behalf of the party which may include planning the party’s convention.
The suit was instituted on his behalf by his lawyer, Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), with the APC made the first plaintiff and Eta the second.
Listed as defendants in the suit are Buni in his capacity as chairman of the caretaker committee; John Akpan Udoedehe as the National Secretary; as well as Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State; Governor Sani Bello of Niger State, and Stella Okotete, as members of the committee.