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Dogara not our member, APC tells court

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Oba Darasimi

The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday told a court that Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, is not a member of the ruling party.

Dogara, who was elected to the House of Representatives at the last general election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, reportedly defected to the APC last year.

But in a counter-affidavit it filed in opposition to a suit by the PDP, seeking Dogara’s sacking for allegedly abandoning unlawfully, the party, on which platform he rode to the House of Reps, the APC bluntly denied the lawmaker is its member.

The Head of Legal Department of the APC, Dare Oketade was quoted, in the party’s counter-affidavit, to have claimed that he is not aware that Dogara has defected from the PDP.

Oketade said he has checked the membership register of the APC and that he did not find Dogara’s name in APC’s membership register.

“In fact the 5th defendant (the APC) has not received an application for membership from the 1st defendant (Dogara) or any other person acting under the instruction of the 1st defendant; neither the 5th defendant has issued any membership card to the 1st defendant.

“Recording the name of the 1st defendant as member of the 5th defendant in the membership register of the 5th defendant and the subsequent issuance of APC’s membership card to the 1st defendant confers 1st defendant the membership of the 5th defendant,” the APC said.

It described the suit by the PDP as speculative and instituted in bad faith, and prayed the court to dismiss all the claims of the plaintiffs in the interest of justice.

On Monday, Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja granted the plaintiffs’ application for an abridgment of time within which the case could be heard.

The application, which was moved by plaintiffs’ lawyer, Jibrin S. Jibrin, was not opposed by the defendants, following which Justice Abang adjourned till February 4, 2021 for hearing.

Defendants in the suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1060/2020 are: Dogara, the House of Representatives Speaker, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the APC.

The PDP and its Bauchi State Chairman Hamza Koshe Akuyam, listed as plaintiffs in the suit, stated that Dogara, representing Dass, Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro Federal Constituency of Bauchi State, defected from the APC to the PDP before the last general election and won a re-election to the House on the platform of the PDP.

They added that Dogara, on July 24, 2020, abandoned the PDP for the APC when he submitted his resignation letter to PDP Chairman in Bogoro ‘C’ Ward in Bauchi State.

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