By Alex Enumah
Justice Samira Bature of an Abuja High Court on Thursday renewed the order permitting Mr Victor Giadom to act as the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for two weeks, further deepening the leadership crisis bedeviling the ruling party.
Justice Bature had on March 16 this year while ruling in an exparte application ordered Giadom to pilot the affairs of the ruling party pending the determination of the motion on notice filed before the court.
Though the order was for two weeks, it was inactive as the Court of Appeal Abuja Division had few hours later set aside the order suspending Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as the National Chairman of the APC.
However following the June 16 judgment of the Court of Appeal which upheld Oshiomhole’s suspension, a member of the APC Comrade Mustapha Salihu had approached the court for permission to allow Giadom to pilot the affairs of the party in the interim.
In the ex parte application dated June 18 and argued by his lawyer, Mr Wole Afolabi, the plaintiff prayed the court to extend its order of March 16 which had granted Giadom permission to act as Acting National Chairman of the APC for a period of two weeks.
Mr Afolabi had argued that Giadom was the authentic acting National Chairman of the APC, following a ruling of the Federal Capital Territory High Court in March.
Giadom who is the party’s Deputy National Secretary said he was the highest ranking official following the ruling of the Court of Appeal on Tuesday, which upheld Oshiomhole’s suspension and declared all his actions since his suspension, null and void.
After listening to the submissions of Mr Afolabi, Justice Bature granted the application as prayed.
The judge also empowered Comrade Mustapha Salihu, the APC National Vice Chairman (North East) to act as the National Secretary.
Following the judgment of the Court of Appeal on June 16, the National Working Committee of the APC, in a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Isa-Onilu, had announced Senator Abiola Ajimobi as the Acting National Chairman, being the Deputy National Chairman (South).
At a press conference after another emergency NWC meeting on Wednesday, National Vice Chairman (South-south), Hilliard Eta, had said that 16 members of the NWC out of 21 had suspended Giadom.
Eta 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.
But Giadom, who spoke through his counsel, said consequent upon an order of the FCT High Court issued on March 16, 2020, “Chief Victor Giadom is to act as the National Chairman.”
According to Afolabi, asking Senator Abiola Ajumobi to act as the National Chairman of APC following the suspension from office of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole by the Court of Appeal, was in disobedience to court order.
“We wish to state that the statement must have been issued in complete ignorance of the order of the FCT High Court issued on March 16, 2020, by Honourable Justice Bature in Suit No. FCT/HC/M/6447/2020 to the effect that Chief Victor Giadom is to act as the National Chairman of the party due to the suspension of Adams Oshiomhole as the National Chairman.
“The order was given the same day that the Court of Appeal earlier gave Oshiomhole a temporary respite by staying the execution of the said order suspending Oshiomhole. Now that the Court of Appeal has affirmed the order of suspension, it is only proper that the Order recognizing Chief Victor Giadom is implemented.
“Consequently, we have written to all law-enforcement agencies to implement the said order and any one who attempts to parade himself/herself other than Chief Victor Giadom as the Acting Chairman of the APC would be facing contempt of court proceedings.
“The said order has now been extended by the court for two weeks.”