•Court grants leave to NWC to hold NEC meeting March 17
•Pro-Fayemi forces strategize for NEC
•Zonal vice chairman attacks Obaseki over ‘consultative’ meeting
By Omeiza Ajayi & By Onozure Dania
INDICA TIONS emerged, yesterday, that some leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, are pondering the possibility of putting in place a caretaker chairman who would superintend the affairs of the party and put in place processes leading to a mini-national convention.
Justice S. U. Bature of the Federal High court sitting in Federal Capital Territory, FCT, yesterday granted leave to the National Working Committee, NWC, to hold the National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting scheduled for March 17, 2020.
An influential member of the party from the South-South who is conversant with the high-wire politicking in the APC told Vanguard that some leaders of the region were already considering a replacement for the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
“We cannot say with all certainty that Oshiomhole is gone. Yes, that is the reality because we cannot pre-empt his case at the Appeal Court. However, our leaders are not leaving anything to chance. The stage we are now is to get a caretaker chairman to midwife the party towards a mini-national convention, as soon as possible.
“The disagreement however is whether to ensure that the acting National Secretary, Chief Victor Giadom continues to lead the party in the interim or that the National Executive Committee, NEC, would upturn the purported suspension of the Deputy National Chairman, North, Senator Lawal Shuaibu.
However, by our Constitution, it is the Deputy National Chairman, South, who is supposed to act for a National Chairman of Southern extraction,” he said. The mini-national convention would be to ratify the appointment of some party officials in the National Working Committee, NWC, and pick a new national chairman should the courts uphold the suspension of Comrade Oshiomhole.
An associate of the Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, who also spoke with Vanguard said those loyal to the governor are not losing sleep over the situation in the party as they are sure of having their way at the forthcoming NEC meeting. The governor has been fingered as one of those fighting to unseat the national chairman.
He said: “Our position is well known. The position of Deputy National Chairman, South, is micro-zoned to Ekiti State. So, depending on how well the South-West caucus plays its cards, NEC might ask them to present their nominee for the office of the Deputy National Chairman, South. You would recall that they had nominated Senator Gbenga Aluko but the Oshiomhole cabal in the NWC wanted to smuggle in Senator Abiola Ajimobi from Oyo State even when they know that the position was micro-zoned to Ekiti.
”The immediate past occupant of that office was Otunba Niyi Adebayo who is now a minister. When Chief John Odigie-Oyegun from Edo State left, he was replaced by Oshiomhole from Edo. When Bolaji Abdullahi left as national publicity secretary, he was replaced by Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu also from the same Kwara State. It also happened in the case of the Organizing Secretary where Emma Ibediro from Imo State was replaced by Osita Izunaso from Imo. Even Giadom, from Rivers State also replaced Amb. Ngofa who was also from Rivers State. So, you cannot now bring Ajimobi from Oyo State to replace Niyi Adebayo from Ekiti State. If NEC wants to play safe, Senator Aluko who is the nominee from Ekiti might even be our acting National Chairman,” he explained.
Obaseki’s “illegal” meeting
Meanwhile, National Vice Chairman of the party for the South-South, Hilliard Eta, has distanced leaders of the party in the zone from the consultative meeting called by the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, arguing that the governor has no power to call such a meeting.
Governor Obaseki had allegedly sent letters of invitation to leaders of the party in the zone, to attend a Consultative meeting today (Thursday), ostensibly to discuss the issue of the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
However, Eta in a statement, urged members of the zonal caucus to shun the said meeting.
He said: “I saw the invitation the governor is sending out to people inviting them for a meeting. But I am calling on all our party leaders to shun the meeting because he has no right to convene such meeting.
“I am the South-South Vice Chairman of the party and any APC leadership meeting is convened by me.
Court grants leave to NWC to hold NEC meeting March 17
Justice S. U. Bature of the Federal High court sitting in Federal Capital Territory, FCT, yesterday granted leave to the National Working Committee, NWC, to hold the National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting scheduled for March 17, 2020. The court also restrained the 1st, 2nd 4 and 3rd defendants either by themselves, their agents or privies from disrupting the meeting.
Justice Bature stopped the 4th defendant from interfering, disturbing or taking any steps or actions howsoever described towards disrupting the meeting of the National Executive Committee convened by the 4th defendant’s National Working Committee members scheduled for 17th March, 2020, or any subsequent date pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice already filed.
The Judge further compelled the 4th defendant to give effect to the resolution of the National Working Committee convening the National Executive Committee meeting of the 4’” Defendant scheduled for 17th March, 2020 or any subsequent date pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice already filed.
Salihu had filed a Motion ex-parte, and the accompanying affidavit in Suit No: CV/1385/2020, before the court, to enable him serve the defendants, Babatunde Ogala, Lanre Issa-Onilu, Waziri Bulama and All Progressives Congress, to stop them from taking any step to disrupt the meeting of the National Working Committee members.
All the applications filed by Comrade Mustapha Salihu were granted.
The judge granted him leave to serve the originating summons and all subsequent processes in this matter on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants by substituted means to wit: by serving same on any adult at the office of the Deputy National Secretary of the 4’” defendant at the All Progressives Congress National Secretariat, 40 Blantyre Crescent, Wuse 2, Abuja, FCT and deem same as proper service.
The judge granted the applications “upon careful consideration of the Motion ex-parte, and the accompanying affidavit file by Comrade Mustapha Salihu and upon listening to Afamefuna Ekekwe Esq, counsel to the applicant.
“Application is accordingly granted as prayed. Case is adjourned to March 20, 2020, for hearing of motion on notice,” the judge said.
“I have also communicated to our political leader in the zone, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and he is not aware of any such meeting. So, we are calling on all our leaders not to attend any such meeting because it is ill-conceived and ill-motivated. At this point in time we are focusing on how to strengthen our great party under the leadership of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and not to destabilize the party.
“We urge all stakeholders including Governor Obaseki to follow the constitution of the party which is supreme because any meeting called by him without proper procedure is null and void.”
A Federal Capital Territory, FCT, High Court presided over by Justice Danlami Senchi had on March 4 upheld the suspension of Comrade Oshiomhole by party executives of his Ward 10 in Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State.
In order to get Oshiomhole out of the way before the Governorship primaries in Edo and Ondo states, some forces within the party led by the National Vice Chairman, North-East, Comrade Mustapha Salihu, had approached the court to declare that the national chairman could no longer carry on his official duties based on his purported suspension.
However, in another legal twist the following day, a Federal High Court in Kano presided over by Justice A. Lewis Allagoa, temporarily invalidated the action of the Ward executives, asking parties in the suit to maintain the status quo ante bellum until the determination of the substantive suit.