Members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) appeared to be divided into two factions over the judgement affirming Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s suspension as the National Chairman.
A three member panel of justices led by Justice Eunice Onyemenam, had on Tuesday held that Oshiomhole’s appeal challenging his suspension was unmeritorious.
A faction of the NWC led by Mr Victor Giadom said at a news conference on Wednesday at the party National Secretariat in Abuja that he had assumed duty as acting National Chairman following an earlier judgement by Justice S.U. Bature of Abuja High Court.
“Yesterday the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, in a unanimous judgement, affirmed the suspension of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress.
“Consequently, I bring to your notice that on March 16, Hon Justice S.U. Bature in suit no FCT/HC/M/6447/2020 had ordered that, with the earlier suspension of Oshiomhole, I, Chief Victor Giadom should act as National Chairman of the party.
“That order could not be immediately effected at that time because of the temporary reprieve Oshiomhole got from the Court of Appeal on the same date.
“Having removed the temporary reprieve yesterday by the Court of Appeal and since we cannot allow a vacuum, I most humbly inform you that I have assumed office as Acting National Chairman,’’ he said.
Giadom solicited the support of the party leadership and members in achieving the important responsibility.
“I want to assure all party members that APC will obey court orders/judgements so as to bring sanity to our great party.
“Time for selective compliance of Court Orders and judgements is over.
“Our party, the APC will no longer allow local quests for the control of power to influence our decisions,” he said.
Giadom said that the APC NWC has therefore, canceled the decision of the Screening and Appeal Committees that disqualified Gov. Godwin Obaseki, Mr Chris Ogiemwonyi and Mr Matthew Aigbuhuenze Iduoriyekemwen.
He said that the party NWC also annulled the clearance of three aspirants, Mr Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Hon. Osaro Obaze and Dr Pius Odubu to contest in the primaries.
“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 for 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,” he said.
He said that whatever role given to Oshiomhole by the APC Constitution could not override the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution.
“We therefore, ask all aspirants in the governorship primaries to report for fresh screening between today and tomorrow.
“We call on all aspirants to remain in the All Progressives Congress as we guarantee fairness and justice to all concerned,” he said.
According to him, the schedule and time for each aspirant shall be communicated.
But Mr Hillard Eta, the APC National Vice Chairman, South/South also addressed newsmen in Abuja saying that the NWC has confirmed the appointment of the Deputy Chairman South, Sen. Abiola Ajimobi, as the acting National Chairman of the party.
Eta said this few minutes after Giadom confirmed himself as chairman.
He said that Giadom has since resigned his position as a member of the NWC to contest as deputy governor of Rivers.
He added that his position as the party Deputy National Secretary has not been filled by the South/South stakeholders as expected by the Constitution of the party.
“Victor Giadom has since then ceased to be a member of the NWC.
“We are aware of the appeal court order yesterday, and on the strength of that, the NWC resorted to the constitution of the party which makes provision for dealing with matters of vacancies.
“In the absence of a leader, the constitution invested rights on replacements and in the light of this, NWC affirms Chief Abiola Ajimobi, National Deputy Chairman (South) as the acting National chairman of the party,” Eta said.
He said that the NWC also constituted a seven man election panel for the June 22 governorship primaries in Edo state.
He said that the committee was headed by Gov. Hope Uzodimma of Imo, while Ajibola Bashiru was the Secretary.
“The election appeal committee which is a five-man committee is headed by Prof. Mustapha Bello, while the secretary is Kayode Ajulo,” he said.