A Federal High Court sitting in Kano State on Friday 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 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.
It will be recalled that a former Senator, Mas’ud El-Jibrin Doguwa, Honourables Habibu Sani and Bilyaminu Yusuf Shin’Kafi (all aspirants of the All Progressives 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, National Chairman of APC, Speaker of the House of Representatives 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 “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 Progressives Congress (APC) Constitution, which allow statutory delegation to vote at the convention, congress or meeting.”
Also in the suit, the second defendant filed a counter-affidavit in opposition to the originating summons dated 1st June 2022. However, the first, third and fourth defendants did not file any process in the suit.
While delivering judgment on the suit on Friday, 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 allows Statutory Delegation to vote at the convention, congress or meeting.”
Going by this ruling, the implication is that all the statutory delegates of each political party shall participate in the subsequent congresses and conventions, especially, the forthcoming national convention of the APC.
Other statutory delegates 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 councillors and past council chairman who are members of the party, as may be decided by party guidelines.