By Alex Enumah
The problem of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, was compounded on Monday following the failure of the Court of Appeal to commence hearing in his appeal challenging his suspension as the National Chairman of the party.
Barely a few days after his suspension, the party had slated a meeting of its National Executive Committee (NEC) for Tuesday, March 17, where a decision is likely to be made on his replacement.
Justice Danlami Senchi of an Abuja High Court 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.
Accordingly, the court then fixed March 16 to commence hearing in Oshiomhole’s appeal against his suspension.
But hearing in the appeal could not go on as scheduled following the absence of the panel assigned with the matter.
Oshiomole, his lawyers and supporters were all in court as early as 8am.
However, when the court began sitting at about 10.30am, Justice Stephen Adah who led a three-man panel of justices informed the court that there are two panels assigned to hear the cases listed for the day, adding that the case of Oshiomhole would be heard by a different panel.
When Justice Adah’s panel finished hearing their own matters, he informed the court that he would find out if the panel that will hear Oshiomhole’s appeal is ready and communicate to the court.
However, a few minutes later, a female court registrar informed the court that with regards to Oshiomhole’s appeal, “hearing is reserved to a date that will be communicated to parties in the matter”.
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 panel of justices 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 duties as 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 a 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: the 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).