COURT has issued an interim order extending previous order, granting All Progressives Congress (APC) Deputy National Secretary, Victor Giadom, the right to act as national chairman.
But the sole plaintiff in the suit, Mustapha Salihu, the National Vice Chairman (Northeast), disowned the injunction granted ex-parte by Justice Samiru Umar Bature of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court.
The defendants in the suit are: Babatunde Ogala, Lanre Issa-Onilu, Waziri Bulama and the APC.
Salihu told reporters in a telephone interview on Thursday: “I was not part of such shenanigan. It is not in my character to play such dirty politics and I condemn in strong terms those behind the act. At a time like this when the party is going through trying times, it is such a time that all lovers of the party must pull together to keep the party running.”
He added: “My zone, the North East, has already nominated Architect Waziri Bulama in the presence of the Senate president, APC governors from the zone and other party stakeholders as the acting national secretary. I was at the meeting where this decision was reached. So why now would I go back to obtain a court order to act as national secretary?
Justice Bature gave the order that Giadom could act as APC National Chairman unhindered “unless otherwise decided by the National Executive Committee of the 4th defendant (APC).”
He gave the order on Tuesday following an application by Giadom’s lawyer, Wole Afolabi, for the extension of a March 4 ruling by Justice Danlami Senchi of the Federal High Court Abuja, suspensing National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole. The execution of the order was stalled by a March 16 ex-parte order by the Court of Appeal, Abuja, which restored Oshiomhole to office.
A copy of Tuesday’s order, made in a motion marked: FCT/HC/M/6447/2020, reads: “Upon listening to Wole Afolabi, Esq. counsel to the plaintiff /applicant praying this honourable court to extend the lifespan of the order of this court made on the 16th of March 2020 as per a motion ex-parte, with motion No: FCT/HC/CV/6447/2020 , praying this Honourable Court for the following orders:
*An interim order of this honourable Court allowing Chief Victor Giadom (present Acting National Secretary) to pilot the affairs of the 4th defendant as Acting Chairman and to preside at all meetings of the National Executive Committee pending the decision of the National Executive Committee of the 4th defendant fixed for 17th March, or any other subsequent adjourned date pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
*An interim order of this honourable court restraining the 4th defendant and its officers or anyone purporting to act as an officer of the 4th defendant from preventing or in any way disturbing Chief Victor Giadom (present Acting National Secretary) from functioning as the Acting Chairman (unless otherwise decided by the National Executive Committee of the 4th defendant) pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
“Consequently and in line with Rule No.5 of the COVID 19 Practice Directions of the FCT High Court, 2020, the order of this court made on the 16th day of March, 2020 is hereby extended for a period of two (2) weeks.
“Application is a hereby granted as prayed.”
Justice Senchi had, in the March 16 suit filed by Comrade Salihu, ordered that Giadom should assume the position of the party’s acting national chairman.
The judge also ordered Salihu to act as the party’s Secretary.
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But on June 16, (the day the Court of Appeal’s judgments, giving effect to Oshiomhole’s suspension) a lawyer to the plaintiff in the suit by Salihu, Mr. Afolabi, returned to Justice Bature’s court for an extension of the earlier orders, a request the judge granted.
Copies of the orders sighted on Thursday, bore a stamp dated June 18, indicating that they were released by the court on that day.
National Legal Adviser Babatunde Ogala last night debunked the claim by Giadom’s lawyer that Acting Chairman Senator Abiola Ajimobi was not duly appointed into the National Working Committee.
Speaking on Channels Television, he said Giadom was brought into the NWC the same way Ajimobi was appointed.
He said: “When the position of the deputy national secretary was vacant. The Zonal Congress of the party leadership nominated a replacement. That was how Victor Giadom got into the NWC. So, he who comes into equity must come with clean hands.”
Ogala said a Federal High Court on March 13 affirmed Senator Ajimobi’s appointment.
He said: “How can (Giadom) who claimed to be acting secretary now go to another court to say there was nobody in office. The order of March 13 was served on me; the order of March 16 in which the process filed is against me and the party, the Publicity Secretary and National Secretary are yet to be served till today. The orders they (Giadom and others) are parading on social media are yet to be served on the party as we speak.
“…Our party constitution in Article 21 provides that in the absence of the chairman, the Deputy National Chairman from his Zone shall act in his stead…On this note, there was no vacancy. The order of March 13 affirmed the deputy chairman as the person to take over in the absence of the national chairman…”
Ogala who was in the studio with Giadom’s lawyer, explained that the same lawyer, who filed the suit, was in Lagos when the Federal High Court ruled in favour of Ajimobi’s appointment.
“On March 16, the same lawyer went to the FCT High Court,” he said.