A titanic battle for the control of the party apparatus within the APC has burst into the open as a result of the vacuum created in leadership by the recent ruling of an Appeal Court in Abuja.
Recall that a unanimous decision delivered by the court sided with the judgment earlier given by an Abuja High Court presided over by Hon. Justice S.U Bature, which held on the 16th of March, 2020, in Suit No. FCT/HC/M/6447/2020
that the suspension of the Chairman followed due process.
Behind the scene, while claimants to the stool fight in the open, a more intense confrontation is currently going on.
It is between forces that are loyal to Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu and those who are aligned to the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
Both actors who are not saying much, but who nonetheless are believed to have their eyes on the presidential ticket in 2023, are throwing everything in their arsenal into the ring.
No one is sure who is in control at this time. Not even the National Working Committee of the APC is.
Available evidence shows that the membership of the decision making body is increasingly fragmented.
Political expediency rather than the urge to find mainstream solutions to problems plaguing the party is gradually taking centre stage.
Statements purportedly issued by the NWC are flying from different directions as the contending groups engage one another in a make or mar battle.
Who would emerge as the authentic Ag. Chairman of the party? That is the question that is being asked at the moment.
Initially, the NWC had named Abiola Ajimobi, a former state governor as the Acting Chairman. Hours later, it withdrew Ajimobi’s name and immediately replaced same with that of the Deputy National Chairman, South South.
Ajimobi is reportedly sick, with some insiders suggesting he may be receiving treatment after testing positive to the dreaded Coronavirus.
But the proposition of Ajimobi who is from the South West as the Acting Chairman may have been a gross miscalculation on the part of the Tinubu team.
The position of the party chairman is zoned to the South South, explaining why Governor Godwin Obaseki helped Oshiomhole in the fight to replace Odigie Oyegun also from Edo as the National Chairman.
There are no indications that the party’s zoning formula which favors the South South has been reversed to include the rest of Southern Nigeria.
The NWC hurriedly amended its statement, saying the Deputy Chairman South South would act in place of Ajimobi, pending the determination of the suit which is headed for the Supreme Court.
Wednesday, Victor Giadom broke his silence. He said he had assumed leadership as the Acting Chairman on the basis of the ruling of the High Court presided over by Justice Bature.
He asked for the support of party leaders at this time and announced the reversal of the decision which had excluded the Edo State Governor from participating in the forthcoming primaries of the party.
Giadom’s, reaction did not entirely come as a surprise.
The High Court in its ruling had asked the Rivers born politician to assume the position of Acting Chairman after it confirmed the suspension of Adams Oshiomhole.
Meanwhile, Giadom’s lawyer, Chief Oluwale Afolabi has issued a statement affirming that his client is the new helmsman in line with the ruling of the Abuja High Court.
“Our attention has been drawn to a Statement purportedly issued by the Publicity Secretary of the APC to the effect that Senator Abiola Ajumobi is to act as the National Chairman of APC following the suspension from office of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole by the Court of Appeal”, the legal counsel said.
He further stated, “We wish to state that the statement must have been issued in complete ignorance of the order of the FCT High Court issued on 16th of March, 2020, by Hon. Justice S.U 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.”
Oshiomhole who weighed in on the side of the NWC said on Twitter that he was working with his lawyers to determine his next line of action.
He said the APC has established structures which would ensure in his absence that the right thing is done, claiming that those who were opposed to him would never succeed.
Insiders in the APC who are beginning to feel the heat fear that the intense struggle for control by emerging political camps may tear the party asunder if utmost care is not taken.
For now, the die is cast. Only the Supreme Court would save Oshiomhole whose suspension from his position and the party means he cannot lay any claim to membership.
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