Sowore was suspended by his party this week, but INEC says the suspension is illegal.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Omoyele Sowore as the only legitimate national chairman of the African Action Congress (AAC).
The former presidential candidate was this week suspended for six months by the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) after a special meeting in Abuja where he was accused of financial misappropriation and anti-party activities.
Leonard Nzenwa, the party’s national secretary, was immediately sworn in as acting chairman to replace the Sahara Reporters founder.
“These members, led by Leonard Nzenwa, former national secretary, who was suspended for financial impropriety and anti-party activities, have demonstrated by their actions that they have never been, and have never shared, the core beliefs that those of us in the African Action Congress hold,” he said.
He expelled Nzenwa from the party, while also suspending other “misguided individuals” who participated in the special NEC meeting until investigations reveal the extent of their involvement.
While addressing the crisis in a notice dated May 14, INEC said it’ll only continue to recognise Sowore as the AAC’s substantive chairman.
The electoral commission voided the Nzenwa-led faction’s decision because there was no documentary evidence that its special meeting was convened by its chairman as required by its constitution.
“The party did not provide a 21-day notice of the NEC meeting as required by Section85(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
“There are no minutes or evidence of attendance of the AAC National Executive Committee meeting where the National Chairman and eight (8) others were purportedly suspended,” the notice, signed by INEC secretary, Rose Oriaran-Anthony, read.
Sowore was elected the AAC’s national chairman shortly after it was registered by INEC in August 2018 and was elected the party’s presidential candidate shortly after.
The Sahara Reporters founder only scored a total of 33,953 votes in the February 23 presidential election won by President Muhammadu Buhari.