By Ikechukwu Nnochiri, ABUJA

The immediate past National Secretary of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, has persuaded the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal to hear an appeal bordering on the leadership crisis rocking the party in Akwa Ibom state.

A three-man panel of Justices of the appellate court led by Justice Haruna Tsammani has fixed Tuesday to hear the matter.

Akpanudoedehe, in the appeal, is challenging the judgement of the Federal High Court in Abuja, which APC to swear-in the Stephen Leo Ntukekpu led Executive of its chapter in Akwa-Ibom State.

Though the matter was initially slated for hearing on Monday, however, the National Chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Adamu, through his counsel, Chief Umeh Kalu, SAN, directed the appellant, Akpanudoedehe, to withdraw the appeal, stressing that he was no longer the National Secretary of party, and as such, lacked the capacity to maintain the action.

Kalu, SAN, who is also representing the five APC Excos in Akwa Ibom state, told the court that the national leadership of the party had through a letter dated May 6, disengaged two SANs, Solomon Umoh and Chief Niyi Akintola, who hitherto handled the appeal.

He told the court that the senior lawyers were notified of the decision of the party to abide by the lower court’s judgement.

However, Kalu, SAN, noted that whereas Chief Akintola, SAN, had since recused himself from the case, Umoh, SAN, refused to comply with instructions of his client, the APC, which engaged him.

Kalu submitted that since Akpanudoedehe had since relinquished the post of National Secretary of APC, he could no longer act on behalf of the party.

“My lords, if he has any other interest, he should as well seek the leave of this court to pursue his personnel interest”, he added.

Responding, Umoh, SAN, admitted that though he was in receipt of the letter from APC headquarters, he was however only directed to discontinue the matter at the high court, which he had complied with.

He said the appeal had nothing to do with APC national Headquarters, but five elected members of the party in Akwa Ibom State.

“They can not advice me to withdraw an appeal of my client that have paid for the service”, he insisted.

After the appellate court panel listened to both sides, it adjourned further proceedings in the matter till Tuesday.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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