Court hears Patience Jonathan’s bid to stop Aisha Buhari as head of Africa first ladies

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AN Abuja High Court yesterday fixed today for hearing of an application filed by eight Nigerian women, seeking to restrain Dame Patience Jonathan from holding an emergency meeting of African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM) in Abuja tomorrow.

The plaintiffs, who include Nana Module Onwodi, Ekemma Ugborough Arisa, Louisa Ono Eikhomun and Deborah Oboh claim that the said emergency meeting called by Dame Jonathan was called in “bad faith” as it is aimed at scuttling any chance of Aisha Buhari becoming the President of AFLPM.

Other defendants in the matter include Juliet Mene, Juliet Pearce, Sonia Adolf and Kate Duru. When the matter was called yesterday, hearing could not go on because the procedure for proof of service had not been completed.

Accordingly, Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf adjourned the matter till tomorrow to enable Barrister Mohammed Ahmed file an affidavit of service and attach the Proof of Service to the said affidavit averring that the service had been effected on the defendant – Dame Jonathan.

“You should have filed an affidavit of service and annex the Proof of Service. The document does not speak for itself. Normally, if it is service on a party directly, you file the copy endorsed by recipient party.

But if it is service by substituted means, you file an affidavit to say pursuant to the order of substituted means, we have effected service.

I will adjourn to tomorrow, May 14 to enable you file the affidavit of service. Your application will be taken tomorrow,” Justice Baba-Yusuf ruled.

The plaintiffs had filed a writ of summons for themselves and on behalf of concerned Women for Peace and Development, seeking to stop the emergency meeting called by Patience Jonathan aimed at picking a new President of AFLPM from among the other African first ladies to succeed her.

They explained that the defendant became President of AFLPM‎ after Turai Yar’adua stepped down following the death of her husband and then President, Umaru Musa Yar’adua.

The plaintiffs averred that the tenure of office of President of the Mission is three years, which is expected to elapse in July 2015 and therefore any attempt for the defendant to convene a meeting to elect a new president would amount to shortchanging ‎Mrs. Buhari who ought to get a chance by May 29, 2015 to participate and even contest the office of President in July 2015.

They averred that, “the defendant/respondent’s ‎intention to hold an election in May 2015 is inimical to the progress and development of the country” as “not only shall we be affected as individuals but the entire nation will be affected as our position in the committee of African nations will be relegated.”

They further averred that, “the other African nations who are members of the Mission have unanimously agreed that the summit and the election be held in July.”

They submitted that Jonathan’s interest is “selfish and totally in bad faith” and urged the court to grant an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendant/respondent from convening, hosting the said meeting for the purpose of the electing the President for the Mission or from taking any step that will prejudice or foist on the applicants and the court a fair accompli pending the hearing of the suit. Justice Baba-Yusuf will entertain the interlocutory application today.

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