Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Court of Appeal, Abuja, has ordered a stay of execution of the order of an Abuja High Court which suspended Mr. Adams Oshiomhole as the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Justice Abubakar Yahaya, who presided over a three-man panel of the Court of Appeal, made the order on Monday while delivering ruling in an exparte application filed by Oshiomhole.
Oshiomole had in an exparte application prayed the court to halt the suspension order on the grounds that there would be no status quo ante belum if the appellate court fails to intervene.
His lead lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), had informed the court that there is a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the APC slated for Tuesday, March 17, wherein the applicant would be excluded going by the suspension order of the lower court.
Olanipekun submitted that the order has already created a state of disorder in the party that could degenerate if the appellate court failed to intervene.
The senior lawyer, who noted that time is of essence because of the seriousness of the issue, said that there will be an irredeemable damage if the court does not intervene.
In its ruling, the appellate court held that status quo can only be maintained if the order of the lower court is stayed.
“We have looked at the application and we are of the view that the image of emergency has been painted. There is an information that NEC would hold meeting tomorrow and the applicant will not be there.
“Justice would not have been served if the applicant is not in that meeting. The status quo can only be maintained if there is a stay.
“We find merit in the application.
“We hereby order a stay of execution of the lower court made on March 4, 2020, pending the hearing of the notice of appeal slated for Friday March 20, 2020,” Justice Yahaya ruled.
The court in addition ordered all parties in the suit not to take any further steps that would affect the ruling of the court.
“We hereby give an order of injunction restraining the respondents or their agents from taking further steps until the determination of the substantive suit,” he said.
The Court of Appeal in addition made an order of accelerated hearing in the matter.
Justice Yahaya however urged politicians to learn to resolve their problems without involving the courts.
Justice Danlami Senchi of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had in an interlocutory ruling on March 4, 2020, ordered among others, that Oshiomhole should desist from parading himself as the APC Chairman.
The order was sequel to an application of interlocutory injunction asking the court to suspend Oshiomhole, having been suspended as a member of the APC in Edo State.
However, Oshiomhole through his lawyer, Mr Damian Dodo (SAN), had same day approached the appellate court to reverse the suspension order placed on him by the lower court.
Oshiomhole in his appeal, specifically asked the Court of Appeal to set aside the suspension order of Justice Senchi and restore his position as National Chairman of the APC.
In his appeal predicated on four grounds Oshiomhole argued that the judge erred in law and arrived at a wrong conclusion which occasioned a miscarriage by the panel of justice when the court placed him on suspension at an interlocutory stage of a suit instituted against him by some aggrieved members of the party.
Oshiomhole also argued that the High Court further erred in law when it decided that he, in the performance of his duties as APC National Chairman, would interfere in the court action filed against him by the aggrieved members.
He argued that the issue of his duties as the APC National Chairman is a matter which arose from substantive issues for determination and claimed it ought not to have been determined at the interlocutory stage of the main matter.
The suspended National Chairman further submitted that the trial judge erred in law and arrived at a wrong conclusion which occasioned a miscarriage of justice when after ordering the filing of pleadings, immediately set down the motion for interlocutory injunction for hearing in the absence of pleadings.
He further faulted the suspension order against him on the grounds that the trial court determined the motion for interlocutory injunction without recourse to triable issues which ought to have been discerned from pleadings.
Respondents in the appeal are: APC National Vice-Chairman (North-east) Mustapha Saliu, Edo State APC Chairman Anselm Ojezua, Alhaji Sani Gomna, Mr Oshawo Stephen, Mr. Fani Wabulari and Mr. Princewill Ejogharado.
Others are the Inspector General of Police (IG)/and the State Security Service (SSS).