Politics

Court sacks ADC national chairman

Chief Ralph Nwosu and the rest of the African Democratic Congress (ADC)'s executive committee were ousted yesterday by Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court.

Chief Ralph Nwosu and the rest of the African Democratic Congress (ADC)’s executive committee were ousted yesterday by Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court.

According to the rules of the ADC Constitution, as they currently stand, Justice Nyako ruled that ADC and Chief Ralph Okey Nwosu could not prolong his term of office past its expiration.

The court also declared all executive activities from August 21, 2022, to the present null and void.

Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/1541/2022 is decided in favour of Kingsley Temitope Ogga and others, the plaintiffs.

The court ruled that the party was required to adhere to the requirements of its Constitution as it currently stands, rendering the efforts of the ADC and Chief Nwosu to extend Nwosu’s expired term of office unlawful, null, and invalid, and without any legal effect.

In addition, Justice Nyako mandated that the ADC hold a Special Convention to pick a national chairperson and members of the ADC’s National Working Committee (NWC).

Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, an esteemed constitutional lawyer and human rights activist, filed and argued the case before Justice Nyako, who ruled in favour of the plaintiffs on all three questions raised by them under Articles 2; 17 (2) m, n, o, p; 23 a, b; and 24 (a) of the ADC Constitution, 2018, as amended.

As a result, the judge sided with the plaintiffs (Kingsley Temitope Ogga and nine others) and ruled in their favour against the African Democratic Congress, Chief Nwosu, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

On August 30, 2022, the Originating Summons that launched the case in Nyako’s court was submitted.

The questions put by the plaintiffs for determination were: “Whether, having regards to Article 2, Article 17 (2) m, n, o, p and Article 23 a, b of the Constitution of the African Democratic Congress, 2018 (as amended), the tenure of office of the Chairman and members National Working Committee of the 1st Defendant elected and sworn into office at the National Convention of the 1st Defendant held in Osun State on August 28, 2018, does not expire by effluxion of time at the expiration of 4 years from the date of their being sworn in.

“Whether, having regards to Article 23 (a) and (b) of the Constitution of the African Democratic Congress, 2018 (as amended) and the mandatory requirement for the giving of 7 days notice of a National Executive Committee meeting of the 1st Defendant summoned by the National Working Committee of the 1st Defendant, the purported National Executive Committee meeting held at the instance of the 2nd Defendant wherein the tenure of the National Officers of the 1st Defendant elected and sworn into office on August 27, 2018, is not null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

“Whether, having regards to Article 24 (a) of the Constitution of the African Democratic Congress 2018 (as amended), on behalf of ADC, the National Officers of the 1st Defendant can be validly elected, or their term of office extended other than by the National Convention of the 1st Defendant.

In the Original Summons, the parties requested and were granted the following reliefs:

“A declaration that the tenure of the National Chairman and members of the National Working Committee of the 1st Defendant who were elected and sworn into office at the National Convention of the 1st Defendant held on August 28, 2018, expired by effluxion of time upon the expiration of 4 years from the date of their being sworn in being midnight on August 27, 2022.

“A declaration that only the National Convention of the 1st Defendant can elect and or extend the tenure of the National Chairman and members of the National Working Committee of the 1st Defendant.

“A declaration that the purported emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee of the 1st Defendant held on August 25, 2022, is null, void and of no legal effect whatsoever, not having been convened upon the giving of at least seven days’ notice to the Plaintiffs and every other member of the 1st Defendant eligible to attend the meeting as mandatory stipulated in the Constitution of the 1st Defendant.

“A declaration that the purported resolution passed at the purported emergency National Executive Committee meeting of the 1st Defendant held on August 25, 2022, extending the tenure of the 2nd Defendant as the National Chairman of the 1st Defendant and the tenures of the other members of the National Working Committee of the 1st Defendant who were elected and sworn in at the National Convention of the 1st Defendant held on August 28, 2018, is null, void and of no legal effect whatsoever.

“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 2nd Defendant and the entire National Working Committee of the 1st Defendant elected and sworn in on August 28, 2018, from parading themselves or holding themselves out in any manner as the National Chairman and members of the National Working Committee of the 1st Defendant.

“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 3rd Defendant, whether, by itself, its Chairman, officials, agents, privies or otherwise howsoever, from recognising, dealing with or in any manner relate with the 2nd Defendant as the National Chairman of the 1st Defendant beyond midnight on August 27, 2022.”

For months, the African Democratic Congress (ADC) has been in turmoil as two opposing factions—one supporting Dumebi Kachikwu, the party’s presidential candidate, and the other supporting Nwosu—have been at odds about who should lead the organisation.

Kachikwu’s removal as the party’s presidential candidate was announced in August by a faction loyal to Nwosu.

Akwashiki was named Caretaker chairman of the party by supporters of the presidential candidate as a reprisal.

A seven-person Caretaker Committee was also established to run the party until the 2023 elections.

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