Court Ruling Reconciles Kwara APC

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Existence of faction in the Kwara State APC now belongs to the past and it has turned a united family.  The  political drama  began on July 31st  , 2018 when the Senate President , Dr Bukola Saraki  and Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed dumped the ruling party, the APC  for the PDP.

The state APC structure which was peopled by loyalists of the Senate President refused to join him in the new party, the party elders led by Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, however, treated the Balogun Fulani led exco like a pariah  submitting that they were agents of the senator in the APC. The Adams Oshiomole led exco at the national level later announced the dissolution of the state exco and announced a Caretaker Committee led by Hon. Bashir Bolarinwa.  Then began the judicial battle.

The  Kwara State  High Court, Ilorin,   on the 24th of  October ,2018 declared the Alhaji Isola Balogun-Fulani -led state executive council as  the authentic state exco and declared its dissolution by the National Working Committee as illegal and unconstitutional. In a judgment read by Justice T.S. Umar of the Kwara State High Court which lasted for about one and half hours, the court held that the dissolution of the executive committee of the Balogun-Fulani-led exco was illegal, null and void.

The court also held that it recognized the Balogun-Fulani exco as the authentic executive committee of the Kwara State APC. The court went further to ask the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognize the list of members of the executive committee presented by the Balogun-Fulani faction. Whilst the court ruling subsisted, the  Balogun Fulani led faction  which had produced its guber candidate ,Hon. Abdulwahab Kayode Omotose , had a scenario created where two people laid claims to the state chairmanship seat with another two individuals asserting themselves as the party’s guber candidate.  It was a development that got stakeholders in the state APC led by Hon. Bashir Bolarinwa and the leadership at the national level  worried as the elections were just a few months away.

Reprieve, however, came their way in February  when the Court of Appeal, Ilorin,  affirmed the candidature of the  Kwara State  governor-elect, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq as the APC guber candidate, ditto for the  other candidates produced by the party through the primaries conducted by the Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa-led state exco . The court ruled that the nomination of Abdulrazaq by the APC National Working Committee  was in order and appropriate. The Appeal Court also lambasted the state High Court judges that gave earlier rulings  for entertaining suits against the electoral umpire, INEC,  in spite of the fact that  it had no jurisdiction on the matter.  Not daunted, the Balogun- Fulani led exco still asserted its existence as Kwara State APC faction and approached the nation’s apex court to once again seek for a platform to explain the justness of the cause the defunct faction espoused and support such with points and arguments .

The Supreme Court,  on Wednesday  dismissed the appeal filed by members of the defunct faction.  Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour who led a five –man panel of the court unanimously struck out the appeal for being incompetent. It was a lost battle abinitio as Justice Oluwakayode Ariwoola, who read the lead judgment, agreed with the lawyers to the respondents that the appeal had become incompetent on the grounds that its records were transmitted to the Supreme Court after the 14-day  grace period of the apex court had elapsed.

Global Excellence gathered that though the Fulani-led exco filed the appeal against the ruling of the Court of Appeal delivered on February 12, 2019, by  filing  a notice of appeal against  the judgment on February 14 , the obsolete faction,  however, failed to transmit the record of appeal from the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court until March 4 which was four clear days after the grace period had ended. ‘The appeal is adjudged to be lacking in merit. It is struck out for being incompetent’, the court submitted.