By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
There was confusion over who has the authority to conduct todayâ€™s All Progressives Congress (APC) ward congresses in Bayelsa State,Â on Friday, as the courts ordered the party to accord Chief Tiwei Orunimighe all his rights as Chairman of the party in the state.Â
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC had earlier expelled Orunimighe following allegations of anti-party activities and appointed Joseph Fafi, a loyalist of former Governor Timipre Sylva as the acting Chairman.
Also, the committee suspended the Deputy Chairman of the party, Mr. Eddy Julius and the state party Secretary, Marlin DanielÂ amid the lingering crisis which tore the party apart.Â
Angered by the action of the party, Orunimighe dragged the APC, the party’s National Chairman, Chief John Oyegun and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to court challenging his removal.
Â On April 26, the claimant filed a motion exparte praying the court to issue an order directing the defendants to recognise and deal with him as the chairman of APC pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
He also urged the court to direct the defendants to accord him all the rights and privileges as the APC chairman as well as an order directing that nobody apart from him should exercise and perform the functions of the APC chairman.
Among other prayers, the APC chair sought â€ an order of exparte injunction directing the defendants that no other person save the claimant (Orunimighe) was to exercise and perform all theÂ functions of the chairman of the APC , Bayelsa chapter, pending the hearing of the motion on noticeâ€.
Ruling on the motion, the presiding judge of the High Court Sagbama Division, Justice Ebiyerin Omukoro granted all the reliefs sought by Orunimighe.
Omukoro, in his ruling, a copy of which was made available to THISDAY, urged all the contending parties to give the chairman all his privileges until all matters thereto were resolved.Â
“I am persuaded and inclined to grant the reliefs sought as they are preservative in nature and intended to protect the applicant’s lawfully and judicially recognised office from threats thereto by or likely to be made by the first and second defendants/respondentsâ€, he said.Â
Justice Omukoro thereafterÂ fixedÂ May 10Â for hearing of the motion on notice.
The court order further deepens the divisions with the party in the state which had been embroiled in internal wrangling since the loss of the governorship election to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over two years ago.