APC crisis persists as court makes Giadom acting chairman
The confusion over who occupies the chairmanship position of the All Progressives Congress (APC) persisted yesterday as the Federal Capital Territory High Court extended its March 17 order allowing Chief Victor Giadom to pilot the affairs of the party for another two weeks.
The court had on March 16, granted the application filed by one Comrade Mustapha Salihu on behalf of Giadom.
The motion was seeking an interim order enabling Giadom, who was serving as the acting national secretary of the party, to assume the position of the acting chairman due to the suspension of the chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, then.
By that order, Giadom was empowered to preside at all meetings of the National Executive Committee (NEC) pending the decision of the committee fixed then for March 17 or any other subsequent adjourned date, pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.
Defendants in the matter include Babatunde Ogala, Lanre Issa-Onilu, Waziri Bulama as well as the APC.
The order was also to restrain the fourth defendant (APC) and its officers or anyone purporting to act as its officer from preventing or in any way disturbing Giadom from functioning as the acting chairman of the party (unless otherwise decided by the NEC of the party), pending the hearing and the determination of the Motion on Notice.
However, within hours after the order was granted, the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, gave Oshiomhole a respite by granting another order staying its execution.
But the legal tussle did not end there as the Appeal Court on Tuesday affirmed Oshiomhole’s suspension.
With this, Giadom returned to the FCT High Court, seeking to bring life to the earlier order granted him through the extension of the lifespan of the order by way of Motion Ex-parte.
Upon listening to the counsel to the plaintiff/applicant, Wole Afolabi, the presiding judge, Justice S.U. Bature, yesterday granted the order by two weeks.
In his ruling, the judge held: “Consequently and in line with Rule No. 5 of the COVID-19 Practice Directions of the FCT High Court, 2020, the Order of this court made on the 16th day of March, 2020, is hereby extended for a period of two weeks.
“Application is hereby granted as prayed.”
Also yesterday, a purported court order emerged, ordering Comrade Mustapha Salihu, who is currently the party’s national vice chairman North East to act as the national secretary of the party.
A court order dated June 16, 2020 obtained at the FCT High Court sitting at Maitama and presided over by Justice Bature, and having Salihu as the purported applicant, granted the interim order that Salihu should act as national secretary pending “the decision of a validly convened NEC or pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice already filed, whichever comes first.”
But very furious Salihu has dissociated himself from such interim order, saying he was not a party to it.
In a telephone interview with journalists, the APC’s national vice chairman North East said there was no way he would have been part of the interim order when he was at a meeting of the party’s stakeholders from the North East when the decision was reached to nominate and endorse Waziri Bulama as the acting national secretary of the party.
“My zone, the North East has already nominated Waziri Bulama in the presence of the Senate president, APC governors from the zone and other party stakeholders as the acting national secretary. I was at the meeting where this decision was reached. So why now would I go back to obtain a court order to act as national secretary?
“I was not part of such shenanigan. It is not in my character to play such dirty politics and I condemn in strong terms those behind the act. At a time like this when the party is going through trying times, all lovers of the party must pull together to keep the party running,” he said.
Those joined in the said application as defendants are Babatunde Ogala, national legal adviser; Lanre Issa Onilu, national publicity secretary; Waziri Bulama, acting national secretary and the APC.
The motion ex-parte was supported by an affidavit sworn to by one Obinna Ugwu.
The court ruling came yesterday as the Acting National Chairman of APC, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, inaugurated a committee headed by Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State to oversee the Edo State governorship primaries election of the party at the national secretariat in Abuja.
Uzodinma who spoke shortly after the committee was inaugurated blamed those “envious” of the strength of the APC for the latest crises rocking the party.
Ajimobi, represented by the National Vice Chairman, South South, Prince Hilliard Etta, charged the committee to conduct the primary election in line with the dictates of the party’s constitution.
No fewer than ten NWC members, including Lanre Issa-Onilu (Publicity Secretary), Salamatu Baiwa (National Woman Leader), Waziri Bulama (Treasurer), Inuwa Abdulkadir (National Vice Chairman, North West), Sulaiman Wambai (National Vice Chairman, North Central), Paul Chukwuma (National Auditor), were in attendance during the inauguration.
As the APC leadership crisis deepened, leaders and supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State yesterday thronged the secretariat situated on the busy 1st East Circular road in Benin to welcome Governor Godwin Obaseki into the party.
Among the PDP leaders waiting to receive the governor was Tony Anenih Jnr..
At the time of filing this report, it was gathered that some PDP leaders were in a closed door meeting with Obaseki, apparently making last minute arrangement for the governor to join the party ahead of its rescheduled primaries on June 23.
Obaseki may have shunned the directive by Giadom, to discountenance his disqualification from contesting in the party’s primaries billed to hold on June 22, 2020. Two other aspirants disqualified are Chris Ogiemwonyi and Matthew Aigbuhuenze Iduoriyekemwen.
Giadom had on Wednesday declared Obaseki’s disqualification by the Prof. Tanko Ayuba-led APC screening committee as null and void. Consequently, he directed the governorship aspirants of the APC in Edo State to report to the national secretariat of the party in Abuja between Wednesday and Thursday for a fresh screening exercise in line with the party’s constitution.
Giadom, who claimed the decision was in tandem with the wishes of members of the APC National Working Committee (NWC) was, however, not on ground at the party secretariat as at 5 p.m. yesterday to either welcome back Obaseki into the fold of the APC or reconstitute a fresh committee to conduct the screening.
Obaseki, who had formerly resigned his membership of the APC, was said to be set to emerge as the flag bearer of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Edo governorship poll billed to hold in September this year.