Retired NNPC staff drag cooperative to court


Some retired workers of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation have sued the NNPC Staff Multipurpose Cooperative Society, Abuja, and 18 others for N100m over the conduct of the election into the management committee of the organisation which they described as fraudulent.

The suit was instituted by an aspirant, Agada Agbo, and aggrieved members of the cooperative represented by Eghason Salifu.

In the origination summons with suit number CV/20179/2020 filed before the FCT High Court on July 6, 2020, the petitioners alleged that the election which took place on June 30, 2020 was fraudulent and in contravention of the by-laws of the cooperative which makes no provision for online voting.

According to the applicants, the chairman of the electoral committee of the cooperative issued a notice stating that the election would take place on June 30, 2020 by online voting contrary to Section 20(d) of the by-law of the cooperative.

On getting wind of the decision of the chairman of the electoral committee, the management committee wrote a letter to the chairman, bringing his attention to the infraction.

The applicants through their lawyers also wrote a letter to the management committee protesting the use of online system of voting and asked him to halt the election.

The plaintiffs, who claimed to constitute about 50 per cent of the voting bloc, said they pointed out that their members would be disenfranchised if online voting was used.

However, the electoral committee went ahead to conduct the election which the applicants claim, was marred by substantial irregularities, malpractice and disenfranchisement.
The electoral committee was said to have acknowledged these irregularities and issued a report on July 2, 2020 to declare the election inconclusive.

The applicants said they wrote a letter to the Director of Cooperative, Innocent Ajaefobi, who is also an official of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, demanding the cancellation of the exercise and for a fresh election.

However, Ajaefobi was said to have directed some unknown persons who did not take part in the election exercise to swear-in some people as new members of the management of the committee.

The applicants, however, presented six issues for determination one of which include whether in view of Section 20(d)& 548 of the by-law of the cooperative, election into the management committee can be done in any other manner outside the balloting or electronic method.

Upon determination of the questions, the applicants are seeking the payment of N100m as damages against the cooperative and the newly inaugurated members for disregarding the by-law of the organisation.

They are seeking an order that no election can be conducted other than balloting and electronic voting

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