House on fire! APC drags R-APC, Galadima, others to court
The All Progressives Congress on Sunday said it would take legal actions against the National Chairman of the Reformed-APC, Alhaji Buba Galadima, and other members of the group.
The National Legal Adviser of the Adams Oshiomhole-led APC, Babatunde Ogala, disclosed this in a statement made available to The PUNCH via e-mail.
He said this in reaction to the formation of the splinter group, R-APC.
Aggrieved members of the New Peoples Democratic Party bloc and other aggrieved members of the ruling APC had on Thursday last week announced the formation of the R-APC.
Ogala accused Galadima and other R-APC leaders of impersonation, fraudulent interpretation, conducts likely to breach public peace and breach of trademark and infringement of copyright.
The APC also hinted possible arrest of leading members of the R-APC by security agencies.
The legal adviser stated, “For the infringement so far committed by Mr Galadima and the odium he has brought upon the APC brand, we will be seeking civil redress against his person and that of his group.
“With respect to the criminal aspect of his conduct, we will be notifying the appropriate authorities to do the needful.”
According to Ogala, the press conference and statement issued by Galadima “were reminiscent of the televised military address issued after a successful execution of a coup d’état” which had become the order of the day before the return of democracy.
Ogala accused the Galadima-led R-APC of resorting to self-help instead of seeking legal redress.
He said if members of the group felt strongly about events that took place during the recently concluded national convention of the APC, they should have approached the court.
He noted that Galadima’s press release could be captured under three major issues, namely:
“That the party’s convention was improperly conducted by the convention chairman as consensus candidates were only subjected to a ‘yes’ vote in alleged contravention of Article 20 of the APC constitution.
“That a group of delegates have come together 10 days after the successful conduct of the APC convention to, in their words, ‘take control and give legitimacy’ to APC now to be known as Reformed APC.
“That R-APC, whose congresses and convention date has yet to be disclosed, already has the full complement of national executives, national working committee, state executives and local government officials in all 774 local government areas across the country.”
Faulting Galadima, Ogala stated, “The question of elections within the APC is covered by Article 20 of the APC Constitution. Specifically, Section 20 (1) provides that all party posts prescribed or implied by this constitution shall be filled by democratically conducted elections at the respective national convention or congress; subject where possible to consensus.”
In a veiled reference to alleged criminal breaches of the law on the part of the R-APC, Ogala maintained that the immediate consequence of Galadima’s action is that “he and his gang” had committed several criminal infractions against the APC.
The legal adviser said by referring to himself as a national chairman, Galadima had committed the offence of impersonation.
He said Galadima, knowingly made a statement which he knew to be untrue with the aim of deceiving Nigerians into abandoning the APC.
The APC legal adviser further argued that the APC is a brand owned by members of the political party so registered and that by using the APC brand, the R-APC had infringed on the copyright of the APC and was thus liable.
Ogala said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration was prepared to do all that was lawfully necessary to cleanse Nigeria’s political process of people who had become accustomed to brigandage and being unruly.
In his reaction, the National Publicity Secretary of the R-APC, Mr Kassim Afegbua, said, “This long epistle to the Romans with a series of legal jargon is only food for the ears of their political buccaneers and economic predators.
“This so-called legal adviser does not need to bog us with this long, windy and twisted legal logic; all he needs to do is to approach a court of competent jurisdiction and sue us.
“As one of the beneficiaries of a convention, he needs to impress his new economic predators that he too has all it takes to fit into the filthy lucre of the present arrangement.”
R-APC meets today, decides next moves
Meanwhile, R-APC will hold a crucial meeting in Abuja on Monday.
A usually reliable source in the R-APC faction of the All Progressives Congress told one of our correspondents, in Abuja, on Sunday, that party leaders “are set to meet tomorrow (Monday) to take stock of the struggle” and forge a way forward.
Asked if the recent Supreme Court decision which exonerated the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki of corruption charges and the recent peace moves by the Adams Oshiomhole-led APC would help mend fences, the source said “No.”
He said, “The recent court victory has more than anything else, served as a morale booster for us. It was not only a victory for Bukola Saraki; it was a victory for the rule of law and a vindication of our earlier position that he was being persecuted because the charges against him were politically motivated.”
The source further said, “The court decision has strengthened our resolve to forge ahead.”
He was non-committal when asked for specifics on issues to be discussed.
He said, “For strategic reasons, we set the agenda for such meetings on the go, leaders table issues, we put them on a scale of importance and discuss.
“You, however, can’t rule out discussions on our next step as a result of the Supreme Court judgment and peace moves by the other side.”
Attempts to get a reaction from the National Chairman of the R-APC, Buba Galadima, were unsuccessful. Repeated calls to his mobile telephone number were neither picked nor returned. The number later became unreachable. A response to a text message sent to him on the subject was still being awaited as at the time of filing this report.
But Galadima, during an interview on Kakaaki, a programme on Africa Independent Television, said the R-APC now had enough lawmakers in the National Assembly to impeach anybody.
He, therefore, dismissed claims by the National Chairman of the APC, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, that the party would not lose sleep over the rebel faction.
The R-APC Chairman said, “Those who say they would not lose sleep, why have they gone cap in hand, kneeling down before members of the National Assembly? I want to say that today, as I sit here if I give directives to the National Assembly to impeach anybody for a constitutional infraction, it would be done because I have the majority in the National Assembly.”Punch