Despite the national body of the All Progressives Congress quashing the suspension of the party’s legal adviser, Muiz Banire, the party’s state chapter has remained undaunted in its move to unseat the lawyer.
In its latest move, party executives in Ward C of Mushin Local Government Area summoned Mr. Banire over alleged “anti-party activities and misappropriation of campaign materials and logistics.”
Mr. Banire, a former commissioner in Lagos State, had criticised the state chapter’s imposition of candidates ahead of the July 22 local council elections.
In a letter dated July 10, 2017, signed by the Secretary of the Committee, Badru Olaide, Mr. Banire was directed to appear before the Committee to defend allegations contained in a petition written against him by concerned members of the party over series of infractions of the party’s constitution.
The summon came almost two weeks after the Deputy Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Wasiu Eshilokun-Sanni, dragged Mr. Banire before an Ikeja Division of the Lagos High Court over forgery of his purported withdrawal letter from the 2015 election into Lagos Island Constituency 1 of the House.
Prior to that, the executives in Ward C had announced the suspension of Mr. Banire after protesters stormed Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s office demanding his expulsion for alleged anti-party activities.
But, within 24 hours, the party’s national executive overruled the suspension on the grounds that only the National Executive Committee has the power to suspend a national officer.
Not deterred by that, the Ward C party chiefs on Friday published in some national dailies a letter summoning Mr. Banire is to appear before the sitting of its Committee scheduled to hold by 10 am on August 14 at Mushin Sports Centre in Bishop Aggey Memorial School, Ilasamaja.
“The business of the sitting is to examine, hear and determine the complaints against you (Banire) by concerned members of our party,” Mr.Olaide said, adding that Mr. Banire was at liberty to attend with legal practitioners of his choice and relevant documents and witnesses to defend the allegations against him.
In the petition written by two members of the party, Messrs Tunde Olukayode and Ayodeji Adebayo, the petitioners asked that Mr. Banire be suspended from the party and debarred from holding any party office as well as contesting office on the platform of the party for a period of 10 years.
They alleged that aside the fact that Mr. Banire had been continuously absent from ward meetings for more than two years contrary to Article 9 (2) (iii) of the party’s Constitution, he had also been engaging in unrestrained media campaigns against the party, its organs, leaders and functionaries, a development deliberately calculated to embarrass the party and bring it into disrepute contrary to Article 9 (2) (I) of the Constitution.
The petition reads in part: “That the member (Banire) has openly been encouraging and inciting Court actions against the party, its organs and functionaries when internal dispute resolution mechanisms have not been explored or exhausted contrary to Article 21 (A) (ii) of the Constitution.
“The member (Banire) has been conducting himself in such a way and manner as to constitute a distraction to the good policies and programmes of the Government of President Muhammadu contrary to Article 21 (A) (ii) of the Constitution.
“That the member (Banire) collected campaign “materials and logistics” – for the 2015 general elections and the recent Local Government Elections without deploying, disbursing or applying same for the benefit of the party. He has failed to pay, as at when due or howsoever, party dues and levies.
“That the member (Banire) has been conducting himself and continues to conduct himself in such a way and manner as could jeopardize, endanger or damage the electoral fortunes of the party and the party brand contrary to Article 21 (A) (ii) of the Constitution.”
‘It’s a lie’
When contacted by PREMIUM TIMES on Friday, Mr. Banire described those who issued the summons as “liars” and that invitation was “another wasteful exercise.”
“Go and find out from the ward executive or the local Government executive. It is the same set of miscreants masquerading as party members,” said Mr. Banire, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
“For your information, the ward exco is led by Bunmi Church whilst the Local Government is led by Aremo Kufisile.
“Firstly, they (Mr. Olaide and co) are not APC members. Secondly, assuming without conceding that they are, they lack the capacity to even invite me legally. Thus, I cannot dignify such miscreants with my presence.
“Remember that the National have even nailed the issue. It’s a dead issue. They should go to court if they are displeased.”