Statutory delegates, which include serving and past members of the National Assembly of the party; serving ministers, commissioners, supervisory councillors and other political appointees, may now participate by voting in the presidential primary election of the ruling APC, the All Progressives Congress.
A Federal High Court sitting in Kano has ruled that statutory delegates are constitutionally qualified to participate in all meetings, congresses and conventions of any registered political party in Nigeria.
The statutory delegates had been barred from voting in the primaries, by the newly signed Electoral Act. A last-minute legislative attempt to enfranchise these delegates had earned the disapproval of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Sen. Mas’ud El-Jibrin Doguwa, Hon. Habibu Sani and Hon. Bilyaminu Yusuf Shin’Kafi, (all aspirants of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) at the just concluded National Assembly primaries, had filed a suit challenging the disenfranchisement of statutory delegates from participating at the primaries.
The suit marked FHC/KN/CS/13712022, has the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; National Chairman of APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as defendants.
The plaintiffs in their originating summons dated 23rd May, 2022 and filed on the 24th May, 2022, prayed the court for a declaration of the Court, “that section 84(8) cannot be interpreted to have excluded statutory delegates from voting at the convention, congress or meeting by virtue of section 223 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Article 20(iv)(c) of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Constitution, which allow Statutory Delegation to vote at convention, congress or meeting.”
The 2nd defendant, Adamu, filed a counter affidavit in opposition to the originating summons dated 1st June, 2022.
But the 1st, 3rd and 4th defendants did not file any process in the suit.
Delivering judgment on the suit on Friday, 3rd June, 2022, the presiding judge, Hon. Justice A.M Liman, held that, “Section 84(8) cannot be interpreted to have excluded statutory delegates from voting at the convention, congress or meeting, by virtue of Section 223 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Article 20(iv)(c) of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Constitution, which allow Statutory Delegation to vote at convention, congress or meeting.”
The implication of this judgment means all the statutory delegates of each political parties shall participate in the subsequent Congresses and conventions, especially, the forthcoming national convention of the APC.
Statutory delegates in this context include, ward, local government, state and national executives of the party, including past executives, as the guidelines of the party deem fit.
Others include, the President, Vice President, former Presidents, former vice Presidents who are members of the party; Governors, deputy Governors, former Governors, former deputy Governors, Council Chairmen, serving Councilors and past Council chairman who are members of the party, as may be decided by party guidelines.