A governorship aspirant in Lagos State, Mr. Abdul-Ahmed Mustapha, has said his petition challenging the conduct of the May 26 All Progressives Congress Governorship primary in Lagos State has not been withdrawn.
He said the APC Appeal Panel had allegedly sought his cooperation to drop the petition to avoid a repeat of the Zamfara and Rivers states scenarios of 2019 when the party ended up without governorship candidates in the two states.
Speaking through his counsel, Abdulmojeed Oloyede, Mustapha requested the party leadership to make public the outcome of the screening exercise conducted for all aspirants in the state which necessitated his purported disqualification.
Denouncing the report that his client had capitulated, Oloyede said, “Far from it, my client would not condone injustice in whatever form and until and unless a fair and just result is achieved, my client won’t stop speaking up against flagrant disregard of our extant laws and laid down party guidelines.
“What Mustapha Ahmed did was to submit himself to the Conflict Resolution Mechanism put in place by the party and he is optimistic that justice would be served at the end.”
On the controversial endorsement and what transpired during the appeal proceedings, the counsel said, “On Tuesday, we (myself and my client) appeared before the Appeal Committee. The hearing was done behind closed doors, and the case was presented and argued extensively before the Appeal Committee.
“The Appeal Committee, thereafter informed us that they don’t have jurisdiction to entertain the issue of disqualification, which is the crux of our Appeal. They opined that the screening appeal committee is the right panel to hear our appeal.
“The Committee honourably informed us that their mandate does not extend beyond the events on the field during the primaries.
“I strongly disagree with the position of the Appeal Committee, in paragraphs 8 and 9 of our Appeal, we made it known that our client got to know of the purported disqualification at the venue of the primaries (Onikan Stadium) when he was turned back at the gate of the venue.
“It is pertinent to state that our client had no cause to file a complaint before the Appeal Screening Committee because the Appeal Committee did not release a screening report nor did they inform my client that he was not cleared. The primaries took place 12 clear days after the screening exercise and it was only at the venue of the primaries that my client was informed that he was not cleared and no ground for the purported disqualification was adduced to date.
“The Appeal Committee strongly advised my client against litigation to avoid a Zamfara-like situation where the party will not be able to field a candidate at the general polls in Lagos state, the hearing thereafter was brought to an end.
“Contrary to the mischievous and deliberate attempt to mislead his supporters and members of the public, the appeal was not withdrawn by my client. The Chairman, Appeal Committee (Alh. Ibrahim Akaje) also reiterated same and made it clear while addressing the press that my client did not withdraw the petition rather the petition was heard.”