*16 NWC members insist Ajimobi is acting chair, constitute Edo guber primary committees, suspend Giadom
By Adedayo Akinwale
Confusion has enveloped the ruling All Progressives Congress following Tuesday’s ruling of the Appeal Court upholding the suspension of the national chairman Adams Oshimhole as three members of the National Working Committee are now laying claim to the leadership of the party.
To stave off leadership vacuum, the National Working Committee of the party had on Tuesday night named the Deputy National Chairman (South) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Abiola Ajimobi, as acting national chairman of the party in line with Section 14 subsection 3 of the APC constitution that states that: “The Deputy National Chairman shall act as the National Chairman in the absence of the National Chairman from his zone.”
Ajimobi, who is said to be on admission in an undisclosed hospital for treatment of ailment suspected to be COVID-19, had through his spokesman, Bolaji Tunji, announced on Tuesday night that a meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the party would be called soon to resolve all contentious issues.
But a press conference at the party’s national secretariat on Wednesday, Deputy National Secretary, Chief Victor Giadom, said a subsisting order of FCT High court delivered on the 16th of March 2020, by Justice S.U. Bature, ordered that with the earlier suspension of Oshiomhole, he (Giadom) should act as the National Chairman of the party.
He claimed that the order could not be immediately effected at that time because of the temporary reprieve Oshiomhole got from the Court of Appeal on the same date.
Giadom however said having removed the temporary reprieve Tuesday by the Court of Appeal and considering the fact that the party could not allow leadership vaacum, he had assumed office as acting national chairman in compliance with the order of the court.
He also announced the cancelation of the decision of the Screening and Appeal Committees of the Edo governorship primary which disqualified Governor Godwin Obaseki, hinging it on a “strict compliance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that forbids anyone who is interested in a cause to be a judge in that same cause.”
Obaseki, who had been having a running battle with Oshiomhole, had announced his resignation from the APC on Tuesday following his disqualification from the upcoming party guber primary.
But in a swift reaction at a press conference after another emergency NWC meeting on Wednesday, National Vice Chairman (South-south), Hilliard Eta, said that 16 members of the NWC out of 21 had suspended Giadom.
He said Giadom had ceased to be a member of NWC because he resigned his position to contest as running mate to Tonye Cole in Rivers state governorship election in 2019.
He said that the NWC had reaffirmed the Ajimobi as the acting national chairman of the party and that in his absence, he (Eta) as the National Vice chairman (South-south) would act as national chairman.
The NWC also constituted the committee on Edo gubernatorial primary to be headed by Imo state governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, while the appeal committee is headed by Prof. Mustapha Bello.
The 16 NWC members who signed the statement were the National Secretary, Arc. Waziri Bulama, National Vice Chairman, South South, Hilliard Eta, the National Vice Chairman Southeast, Hon. Emma Eneukwu; National Vice Chairman, Southwest, Pastor Bankole Oluwajana; National Vice Chairman, Northwest, Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir; National Vice Chairman, North Central, Alhaji Suleiman Umar Wambai; National Organizing Secretary, Barr. Emma Ibediro and the National Legal Adviser, Babatunde John Kwame Ogala.
Others were the National Welfare Secretary, Alhaji Ibrahim Kabir Masari; National Treasurer, Alhaji Adamu Fanda; National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu; National Financial Secretary, Alhaji Tajudeen Bello; National Auditor, Paul Chukwuma; National Women Leader, Hajia Salamatu Baiwa Umar-Eluma; National Youth Leader, Alhaji Sadiq Abubakar and National Disabled Leader, Misbahu Lawan Didi.