The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has voided the suspension of Omoyele Sowore as the chairman of the African Action Congress (AAC). The electoral umpire said in a May 14 letter that those who suspended Mr Sowore from office did so without regard to the party’s constitution or other governing documents. It, therefore, concluded that Mr Sowore will continue to be recognised as the AAC chairman.
Mr Sowore was announced suspended by some members of the party on May 14, barely three months after he stood as the party’s 2019 presidential candidate. The move came amidst a raging controversy between the Sahara Reporters publisher and other party chieftains, with both sides accusing one another of dishonesty, insubordination and fraud.
Mr Sowore was specifically accused of “misappropriation of funds and failure to comply with the statutory requirements of the party to hold NEC meeting over a long period of time,” amongst other infractions. The politicians subsequently announced Leonard Ezenwa as the new chairman of the party.
Mr Sowore dismissed his purported suspension in a press release shortly afterwards. He also responded by announcing the expulsion of Mr Ezenwa and others who took part in the meeting that removed him. The publisher said Mr Ezenwa and his band had previously been suspended for “financial impropriety.”
Null and void: A day after the suspension, INEC took a position on the matter, retaining Mr Sowore as chairman after finding no grounds to uphold his removal. The commission said Mr Ezenwa and others failed to show any “documentary evidence” that a meeting was called by the chairman as required by the party’s constitution.
It also found that the mandatory 21-day notice that should be circulated to members ahead of such critical meeting was not issued. The commission also said records of the purported meeting, including minutes, where Mr Sowore was removed, were unavailable. “The commission shall continue to recognise Sowore as national chairman,” the electoral body concluded. Mr Sowore emerged the presidential candidate of the AAC in October, 2018. He has also been the party’s chairman ever since.