The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has been thrown into fresh battle for the successor to the suspended and seemingly dethroned national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole. The Court of Appeal had on Tuesday upheld the suspension of Oshiomhole by the FCT High Court trailing the former national chairman’s suspension by his ward in Etsako Local Government Area, Edo State.
The Appeal Court judgment tentatively restored the leadership of an APC bloc under Lawal Shuabu, APC Deputy National Chairman, North, who was APC acting national chairman after the FCT High Court judgment that earlier ousted Oshiomhole from office which judgment was appealed and lost.
Lawal Shuabu, APC Deputy National Chairman, North, had declared: “I will resume office as the Acting National Chairman as soon as I receive the judgement of the appeal court. Obaseki’s resignation will be rejected by my party. A sitting governor is an asset to our great party.”
This was the status quo after the FCT High Court pronouncement that barred Oshiomhole from parading himself as member and national chairman of APC. Lawal Shuabu was the acting National Chairman before the intervention of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, which altered the conflict for political solution that restored Oshiomhole. This time the Oshiomhole episode can only be resolved at the Supreme Court.
However, Oshiomhole’s faction is also fighting back smartly. The APC National Working Committee (NWC) quickly released a statement on Tuesday appointing Senator Abiola Ajimobi, former Oyo State Governor as APC acting national chairman.
APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, in the statement acknowledged the appeal court, Abuja, judgment which upheld the suspension of Oshiomhole by FCT High Court pending the determination of the substantive suit.
the publicity secretary quickly announced Ajimobi to stand in the gap in the interim.
The statement read: “Guided by advice from the Party’s legal department in line with the provisions of Section 14.2. (iii) of the Party’s constitution, the Deputy National Chairman (South), Sen. Abiola Ajimobi will serve as the Party’s Acting National Chairman.
“According to Section 14.2. (iii), of the APC constitution, the Deputy National Chairman, North/South “Shall act as the National Chairman in the absence of the National Chairman from his zone.”
While Lawal Shuabu is APC Deputy National Chairman, North, Ajimobi is Deputy National Chairman, South. The Oshiomhole NWC opted for Ajimobi against Shuabu who was acting national chairman after the FCT High Court judgement. Shuabu has also announced his readiness to resume office, only waiting for the Appeal Court judgement notice before going back to work.
A further political conflagration is coming from a relatively invisible bloc in the APC. Chief Victor Giadom had through his counsel, OLuwole Afolabi Esq., cautioned against the imposition of Ajimobi as APC acting national chairman after the dethronement of Oshiomhole by the Appeal Court on Tuesday. Gaidom had in a statement on Tuesday by his counsel revealed that he was earlier recognized by the court as APC acting national chairman after Oshiomhole was ousted from office in March.
Oluwole Afolabi questioned the statement by APC National Publicity Secretary imposing Abiola Ajumobi as acting APC National Chairman after Oshiomhole was suspended from office by the Court of Appeal.
“We wish to state that the statement must have been issued in complete ignorance of the order of the FCT High Court issued on 16th of March, 2020, by Hon. Justice S.U Bature in Suit No. FCT/HC/M/6447/2020 to the effect that Chief Victor Giadom is to act as the National Chairman of the party due to the suspension of Adams Oshiomhole as the National Chairman.
“The order was given the same day that the Court of Appeal earlier gave Oshiomhole a temporary respite by staying the execution of the said order suspending Oshiomhole. “Now that the Court of Appeal has affirmed the order of suspension, it is only proper that the Order recognizing Chief Victor Giadom is implemented.
“Consequently, we have written to all law-enforcement agencies to implement the said order and anyone who attempts to parade himself/herself other than Chief Victor Giadom as the Acting Chairman of the APC would be facing contempt of court proceedings,” Afolabi declared.
Since the NWC recognized that the deputy national chairman north/south could act as acting national chairman in the absence of the substantive national chairman, the main war would be between Shuabu and Ajimobi. Shuabu had acted in the crisis period Oshiomhole was earlier suspended while Ajimobi’s hurried appointment as deputy national chairman, south, was being questioned at the time. The war rages on.
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