Thursday, 18 June 2020

Next Move:Godwin Obaseki Meets With PDP Governors In Abuja

Amid the confusion in the APC,  the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, who was disqualified by the party from contesting its June 22 governorship primary met with the governors of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party in Abuja on Wednesday night.

It was learnt that Obaseki met the PDP governors to perfect his defection to the opposition party following his resignition from the APC.

The APC leadership problem began on Tuesday, when the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja suspended   its National Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomhole.

Following Oshiomhole’s suspension, the APC National Working Committee, during an emergency meeting,   appointed  a former Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, as the acting national chairman.

But the APC’s Deputy National Secretary, Victor Gaidom,  during a press conference at the party’s national secretariat at  11am on Wednesday declared himself as the acting national chairman and went ahead to nullify the  screening  conducted last week for Edo State governorship aspirants.

He was accompanied to the press conference by other two members of the party’s NWC; the Deputy Organising Secretary, Muhammadu Ibrahim, and the National Vice Chairman, North East, Mustapha Salihu.

A few minutes after Gaidom and the two NWC members left the national secretariat , the National Vice-Chairman (South-South), Hilliard Eta,  led 15 other national officers of the party into the building to address a press conference at 11:22am.

Eta,  on behalf of others, disowned Giadom and affirmed Ajimobi as acting chairman.

The APC NWC,  had in a statement  after its  meeting on Tuesday evening, justified the appointment of Ajimobi with   provisions of Section 14.2 (iii) of its  constitution.

According to the provisions, in the absence of a chairman,  the deputy national chairman  shall be appointed   as acting national chairman.

But on Tuesday, there were fears that the former Oyo State governor might not be able to act as national chairman as he was reported to be receiving treatment for COVID-19 in a Lagos hospital.

Surprisingly, Ajimobi issued a statement through his Special Adviser, Communication and Strategy, Bolaji Tunji, on Wednesday  morning.

According to the statement, Ajimobi said the National Executive Committee meeting, which is one of the key demands of some aggrieved members of the party,  would soon be called to address all outstanding issues.

Ajimobi took over as the deputy national chairman in March 2020 when the NWC wrote a letter to the South-West to nominate a candidate for the vacant position of the deputy national chairman (South). The position became vacant, when the former occupant, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, was made a  minister.

The appointment of Ajimobi received the support of  five of the six South-West states of Oyo, Ondo, Osun, Ogun and Lagos with Ekiti alone protesting the nomination.

Giadom, at  the press conference,  addressed  himself as the acting national chairman based on a subsisting court order which earlier empowered him to act as the head of the party  when Oshiomhole was first suspended in March.

Giadom said, “Yesterday, the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, in a unanimous judgment, affirmed the suspension of comrade Adams Oshiomhole as the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress.

“Consequently, I bring to your notice that on the 16th of March 2020, Hon Justice S.U. Bature in suit number  FCT/HC/M/6447/2020 had ordered that, with the earlier suspension of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, I, Chief Hon. Victor Giadom, should act as National Chairman of our great party.

“That order could not be immediately effected at the time because of the temporary reprieve Adams Oshiomhole got from the Court of Appeal on the same date.”

He further said, “As your acting National Chairman and presiding officer in the NWC, we therefore cancel the decision of the screening and appeal committees of the former chairman of the party on the Edo primary. This is in strict compliance with provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that forbids anyone who is interested in a case to be a judge in the same case.”

Giadom directed  all aspirants in the governorship primary to report for fresh screening between Wednesday  and today (Thursday).

Eta, who addressed journalists later,  said Giadom had ceased to be a member of the APC NWC when he resigned to contest  the position of the deputy governor of Rivers State.

He said, “He (Giadom) ceased to be a member of the NWC when he resigned to contest the position of the deputy governor of Rivers State on the platform of our party. I am the National Vice-Chairman in charge of the South-South where he comes from and there is no record that he has returned to his former position.”

Eta further explained that the NWC  under the leadership of   Ajimobi, had set up committees for the Edo State governorship primary scheduled for June 22 and the election appeal scheduled for June 24.


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