Wednesday, 26 August 2020

"You are not a member of our Party" APC Chieftain drags Joe Agi, seeks disqualification



A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in Cross River State, Mr. Use Innocent Eneji, has called on the national leadership of the party to disqualify an aspirant Mr. Joe Agi, SAN, from contesting the state's Northern Senatorial Election primaries for nominations of the party's candidate for the upcoming senatorial by-election on the grounds that he is not constitutionally qualified to participate.



Eneji in a letter by his lawyers, Kanu Agabi and Associates, submitted to the Chairman of the National Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the party in Abuja alleged that Agi a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was yet to publicly denounce his membership of the PDP. Eneji also alleged that Agi was not qualified for the condition to be granted a waiver to participate in the exercise.


The letter read in part: "Our client is a member of your great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ibiaragidi ward, Bekwarra local government area of Cross River State with membership card registration no CRR/BEK/09155500 and is, therefore, a member of your great party in
the northern senatorial district of Cross River State.

"We have our client's instructions to register in strong terms our protest against the participation of Mr. Joe Agi, SAN, in the contest for the Cross River Northern Senatorial Election nominations of your party in Cross River State, and to request that he be excluded from the exercise for lacking the constitutional capacity to so participate.


"Our client has informed us that his strong aversion to the participation of Mr. Joe Agi, SAN, in the nomination process is constitutionally supported, and is premised on the fact that Mr. Joe Agi is still a card-carrying member of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River State and has not publicly pronounced his resignation from the said party. Our client states further that Mr. Joe Agi, SAN, has also not applied for the membership of your great party, and has neither been cleared by the Executive committee of his ward nor has his name been entered in the register of his ward, Okuku ward in Yala local government chapter of Cross River State APC.


"It is our client's contention that not having registered, and his name captured in the register of his ward, Mr. Joe Agi is not a member of the All Progressives Congress in Cross River State and therefore is not eligible to present himself for nomination as a candidate of your great party for any election. We refer Your Excellency to Article 9.1(ii); 9.3(i); 9.4(i) and 31(1)(i) of the constitution of the All Progressives Congress (APC) 2014 (as amended), all of which has the collective effect of excluding a person who is not a member of your party from contesting for any party position, or nomination by the party to be its candidate at any election. We further refer Your Excellency to a copy of the Okuku ward register attached herewith as Annexure 'A' and the protest letter from ward chairman of Okuku ward, further attached herewith as Annexure 'B' and re-echo our clients
the assertion, that Mr. Joe Agi, SAN, is actually lacking the constitutional capacity to participate in your party's nomination for any election.


"Our client states that even though by the provisions of Articles 13.4(xv) and Article 31(2) of your party's constitution, a waiver of the provision of Article 31(1)(i) of the constitution may be granted to a person who is not a duly registered member to contest for any party nomination, that provision is not available to Mr. Joe Agi, SAN, as the conditions precedent for the exercise of the powers conferred by the aforesaid provisions of the constitution, are not present in the case of Mr. Joe Agi, SAN.


"Our client further states that for the provisions of Article 31(2) to avail Mr. Agi, the provisions of Article 31(3)(i), (ii) and (iii) of the constitution must first be complied with and the National Working Committee of your great party must be in place even as any determination of that August body to grant a waiver to any person shall first have the endorsement of the National Executive Council of your great party.


"Our client states that the aforesaid provisions of Article 31(2) to avail Mr. Agi, the provisions of Article 31(3)(i), (ii) and (iii) of the constitution, any application for such waiver by any an aspirant must pass through the ward, chapter and state executives of your party and the person applying must have signed an undertaking to uphold and implement the manifesto of your party in the event of winning the election, before the NWC and NEC respectively can act to grant a waiver.


"Our client states that the absence of all the aforesaid constitutionally prescribe steps for the grant of a waiver in Mr. Agi's case, makes it as clear as broad daylight that Mr. Agi is not eligible to the grant of a waiver by the NEC of your great party.


"It is our client's further contention that the National Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee is not contemplated as the appropriate authority for the grant of a waiver, and that even assuming but not conceding that your caretaker committee has the mandate to discharge the functions of the NEC or NWC the 'special circumstances' contemplated by the APC constitution for the grant of a waiver for a non-registered member of the party does not exist in the case of Mr. Joe Agi SAN, as to enable your committee to exercise such powers of grant.


"Our client states that the phrase 'special circumstances' as used in Article 31(2) of the constitution, literally means: 'exceptional circumstances beyond the control of the person', which does not apply in Mr. Joe Agi's case.


"For the avoidance of doubt, our client has further informed us that his concern and interest in the matter of the unconstitutional aspiration of Mr. Joe Agi, SAN, is fired by his passion to preserve and defend the constitution of your great party and is for the greater the good and best interest of your party, which best interest cannot be served by the participation of Mr. Joe Agi in your party's nomination for election to the northern senatorial district of Cross River State.








"Our client is particularly concerned that the party which is still grappling with the challenge to recover from the result of its errors in Bayelsa, Zamfara, and Edo State experiences, ought to, and should indeed buckle up and begin to exercise more circumspection in all the processes leading to the nomination of its candidates for election, in order to avoid the pitfalls of yesterday, and preserve party unity and cohesion, without which the result of a dismal showing at the polls will continue to be a recurring decimal."

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