By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
The Supreme Court has upheld the congresses conducted by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kano State.
In a unanimous decision of the five-member panel of justices led by Justice Inyang Okoro, on Friday, the apex court held that the appeal against the earlier judgements of the Court of Appeal in Abuja lacked merit and dismissed it in its entirety.
The court further ruled that the two other appeals in the matter will abide by the decision.
The Court of Appeal had in February dismissed the three appeals and held that the originating summons were wrongly commenced in Abuja, adding that the matter was an internal affairs of the party.
The appeals followed the two rulings of an FCT High Court in 2021 which upheld the ward, local government anf state congresses conducted by the G7 faction loyal to a former governor of the state, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau (Mano Central) and Senator Barau Jibrin (Kano North).
The faction of the APC loyal to Shekarau had been in a leadership battle with the Ganduje’s group.
While Ganduje’s group produced Abdullahi Abbas as state chairman, Shekarau’s camp elected Haruna Danzago to the same position.
The Court of Appeal had in February dismissed three appeals that were lodged over the originating summons wrongly commenced in Abuja.
It ruled in favour of the Ganduje’s faction and also said the lower court had no jurisdiction as only the leadership of a political party could resolve disputes arising from its internal affairs, in line with its constitution.
The appellate court said the matter was an internal affair of the APC.
The two factions had held parallel congresses and produced two sets of state executives on October 18, 2021.
The national leadership of the party, however, recognised the congresses of the Ganduje group, leading to the other faction heading to the court.
The FCT High Court, on November 30, 2021, declared the congress conducted by the plaintiffs as valid and the officials it produced as the duly elected leaders of the APC in the state.
It similarly, on December 17, 2021 affirmed its decision by rejecting a motion filed by the Ganduje faction asking the court to stay execution and set aside the judgment.
The judge, Hamza Muazu, further imposed a fine of N1 million against the plaintiffs for filing “a frivolous and time-wasting motion” by asking the court to set aside its judgement and stay the execution on the local government congresses.
The Ganduje faction had filed the motions following its appeal regarding the matter.
The faction subsequently transmitted the records of appeal to the Court of Appeal, a crucial procedural step that sets the stage for the hearing of the appeal.
Muazu struck out the applications on the basis that he had lost jurisdiction to hear the case after the records of appeal were transmitted to the Court of Appeal.