The suspension of Adams Oshiomhole as chairman of the All Progressives Congress has left the party in disarray.
The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, yesterday became a laughing stock as three persons, within three hours, emerged as acting national chairman of the party.
The drama started few hours after the Court of Appeal upheld the lower court’s ruling suspending Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as APC national chairman on Tuesday.
The three acting chairmen are Deputy National Chairman, South, Senator Abiola Ajimobi; Deputy National Secretary of the party, Chief Victor Giadom, and National Vice Chairman, South-South, Ntufam Hilliard Eta. As expected, emergence of the three acting chairmen, who all started by issuing conflicting orders, could hurt the party’s June 22 governorship primaries in Edo as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday, gave parties no more than 10 days to conduct their primaries in Edo.
Relying on Section 14(2)(iii) of the APC Constitution 2014 (as amended) the National Working Committee, NWC, had named Ajimobi as acting national chairman on Tuesday night but it was not until Wednesday morning that a statement credited to him emerged, indicating that he had assumed office by that morning, a report by Vanguard revealed.
Section 14(2) of the APC Constitution (2014 as amended) stipulates the duties of a Deputy National Chairman of the party, among which is to assist the National Chairman in the discharge of his duties.
In Section 14(2)(iii), the constitution states that the “Deputy National Chairman shall act as the National Chairman in the absence of the National Chairman from his zone.”
On Wednesday morning, Special Adviser, Communication and Strategy, to the former Oyo State Governor, Bolaji Tunji, said his principal had assumed the reins of leadership following the order of the Court of Appeal affirming Oshiomhole’s suspension.
However, barely an hour later, Deputy National Secretary of the party, Chief Victor Giadom, announced a take-over of party affairs, declaring as invalid all processes which led to the disqualification of Governor Godwin Obaseki from the June 22 APC primary election in Edo State.
Giadom, who arrived the secretariat at about 10am with a retinue of security aides, premised his action on Tuesday’s judgement of the Court of Appeal.
He was flanked by Deputy National Organizing Secretary of the party, Muhammad Sani Ibrahim, a non-member of the NWC, who has been seeking to oust the National Organizing Secretary, Emma Ibediro.
Security agents had earlier taken charge of the secretariat gate, screening staff, journalists and visitors going into the premises. Hours later, security was relaxed following announcement of Hilliard Eta by the NWC.
Giadom said: “Consequently, I bring to your notice that on the 16th of March 2020, Hon. Justice S.U. Bature in suit no FCT/HC/M/6447/2020 had ordered that, with the earlier suspension of Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, I, Chief Victor Giadom should act as National Chairman of our great party. That order could not be immediately effected at that time because of the temporary reprieve Adams Oshiomhole got from the Court of Appeal on the same date.
However, having removed the temporary reprieve yesterday by the Court of Appeal, considering the fact that we cannot allow for a vacuum, I most humbly inform you that I have assumed office as Acting National Chairman of our great party in compliance with the order of the court.
“I, therefore, most humbly solicit the support of the entire leadership and members of our great party in achieving this very important responsibility. I want to assure all party members that the All Progressives Congress will obey court orders/judgements so as to bring sanity to our great party. Time for selective compliance with court orders and judgements is over.
“Our party, the All Progressives Congress, will no longer allow local quests for the control of power to influence our decisions. As your Acting National Chairman and presiding officer in the NWC, we therefore cancel the decision of the Screening and Appeal Committees of the former chairman of the party on the Edo primaries. This is in strict compliance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that forbids anyone who is interested in a cause to be a judge in that same cause.
“It is a brazen rape on the rule of law and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the former chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to preside and select committees in respect to the Governorship primaries in Edo State, being a key player in the crisis in that state.
“Whatever role the former chairman was given to play in that process by the APC Constitution, it cannot override the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which governs all of us.
“We, therefore, ask all aspirants in the Governorship primaries to report for fresh screening between today and tomorrow. I call on all aspirants to remain in the All Progressives Congress as we guarantee fairness and justice to all concerned. The schedule and time for each aspirant shall be communicated.
“In addition to the above, the Deputy Organising Secretary of the All Progressive Congress, Hon. Muhammad Sani Ibrahim, shall immediately resume office as the Acting National Organizing Secretary, in compliance with the judgement of the Federal High Court in suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/733/2018, which removed the former National Organising Secretary, Mr Emmanuel Ibediro, since 24th of September 2018. This is to ensure strict compliance with the rule of law,” he said.
It didn't end with Giadom as moments later and using the same meeting hall of the National Executive Committee, NEC, 16 of the 21 members of the NWC announced the National Vice Chairman, South-South, Ntufam Hilliard Eta, as acting national chairman.
With Oshiomhole out of the equation, the party is supposed to now have 20 NWC members, but the Hilliard Eta tendency has now declared Chief Giadom a persona non grata in the NWC.
The NWC said it met yesterday morning to take the decision, asking Eta to act on behalf of Senator Ajimobi, who is reportedly indisposed.
Those who signed the statement were the National Secretary, Arc. Waziri Bulama; Hilliard Eta, the National Vice-Chairman, South-East, Hon. Emma Eneukwu; National Vice-Chairman, South-West, Pastor Bankole Oluwajana; National Vice-Chairman, North-West, Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir; National Vice-Chairman, North Central, Alhaji Suleiman Umar Wambai; National Organizing Secretary, Barr. Emma Ibediro, and the National Legal Adviser, Babatunde John Kwame Ogala.
Others were the National Welfare Secretary, Alhaji Ibrahim Kabir Masari; National Treasurer, Alhaji Adamu Fanda; National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu; National Financial Secretary, Alhaji Tajudeen Bello; National Auditor, Paul Chukwuma; National Women Leader, Hajia Salamatu Baiwa Umar-Eluma; National Youth Leader, Alhaji Sadiq Abubakar and National Disabled Leader, Misbahu Lawan Didi.
According to Eta, the NWC reaffirms Senator Ajimobi as acting national chairman of the party, but that in his absence, the NWC resolved that he (Eta) should pilot affairs of the party.