The Governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has said he is opposed to the position of some members of the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress `that aggrieved members of the party should not seek redress in court over the last party primaries.
Mr Akeredolu’s position is a reaction to media report, quoting members of the NWC, particularly, the national vice chairman, South-South, Hilliard Eta, faulting the action of aggrieved members who are in court to get justice.
Mr Eta said the party had instructed its aggrieved members to withdraw their cases or face sanctions.
He also faulted the aggrieved party members on the grounds that they were yet to fully exhaust the internal mechanisms of dispute resolution before heading to court as provided for in Article 20, subsection 10 of the APC’s constitution.
This position, according to the governor, is in direct conflict with the president, Muhammadu Buari’s earlier opinion that aggrieved members could seek redress in court.
The president had said members of the party, who were not satisfied with the outcome of the party primaries conducted across the country, were right to have approached the court to seek redress over the alleged unfair treatment.
The Ondo State governor however considered the position of the NWC members in direct opposition to that of the president and affirmed that the president was right.
Mr Akeredolu while explainig further said the position of Mr Buhari on the matter cannot be faulted which has made the position of the NWC members faulty and unacceptable.
“Let me state without any doubt that I stand on a good wicket in arguing that the position of the President, an acknowledged veteran in court disputation, cannot be faulted. The argument of the NWC members is totally flawed,” Mr Akeredolu said.
“The provision of our party constitution referred to severally and relied upon to support their claim can only be used in law as a shield and not a sword.
“Using the provision as a shield will include approaching the court to decline jurisdiction to hear any of the cases if domestic fora for settlement in accordance with the Party constitution was not exhausted before commencement of the suit.
“The court will look into the circumstances of each case to reach a conclusion any which way. In most cases the court will be obligated to inquire into whether or not there was opportunity for exploring the domestic fora for settlement in accordance with the Party constitution.”
Mr Akeredolu said the NWC’s position was an invitation to infringe on the constitutional rights of members, adding that there is no provision of the party’s constitution that prohibits members to seek redress in court.
“What our NWC members are canvassing against the President’s position is anarchy; an invitation to infringe on the constitutional rights of our members in a democracy by using the provision of the Party constitution in issue as a sword; this will certainly not stand the test of time,” he said.
“To the best of my knowledge there is certainly no provision in our party’s constitution that prohibits our members from approaching the court if they feel aggrieved on any matter. If any such provision exists it will be unconstitutional.”
Mr Akeredolu, however, advised the NWC members to seek proper legal advice before taking decisions that are likely to cause more confusion in the party.
“NWC may wish to seek proper legal advice on this before taking actions that would further muddle the waters,” he added.
Mr Akeredolu is one of the governors affected by the outcome of the primaries and has not hidden his grievances against the position taken by the Adams Oshiomhole-led NWC in matters affecting candidates from Ondo State.
Most of the aspirants loyal to him failed to secure the party’s ticket, a development that created a sharp contention between him and Mr Oshiomole. Some of the aspirants had since defected to other parties to realise their ambitions.