Friday 19 June 2020

Ajimobi Takes Over As APC National Chairman

Ajimobi Takes Over As APC National Chairman
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) last night settled for its deputy national chairman (South) and former Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, as the acting national chairman of the party.

The decision followed the judgement of the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, which affirmed the suspension of the party’s erstwhile national chairman Comrade Adams Oshiomhole from the party.
Accordingly, the appellate court withdrew Oshiomhole’s rights and privileges as national chairman of the party, including his security details.
This is just as weeks of speculation over whether or not Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, will remain in the All Progressives Congress (APC) ended yesterday when he finally dumped the ruling party, saying he will
reveal his new party in the next few days.

Just as the governor was disclosing his resignation from the APC to State House correspondents at the presidential villa, fortune played a sad tune for his arch-rival, Oshiomhole, as a three-member panel of the Court of Appeal ordered him to stop parading himself as APC national chairman.

The appellate court upheld the decision of the FCT High Court which had ordered Oshiomhole’s suspension from the party in March this year.

And in a bid to avoid a lacuna, the NWC of the APC last night named Ajimobi as the party’s acting national chairman.
It said it was guided by the counsel of the party’s legal department in line with the provisions of Section 14.2. (iii) of the party’s constitution.
In a terse statement signed by its national publicity secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, the party said, “Guided by advice from the Party’s legal department in line with the provisions of Section 14.2. (iii) of the Party’s constitution, the Deputy National Chairman (South), Sen. Abiola Ajimobi will serve as the Party’s Acting National Chairman.

“According to Section 14.2 (iii) of the APC constitution, the Deputy National Chairman, North/South “Shall act as the National Chairman in the absence of the National Chairman from his zone”.

Meanwhile, in the appeals decided concurrently, the three-man justices of the Court of Appeal made up of Justices Eunice Onyemanam, Muhammed Lamido and Mohammed Mustapha dismissed the two appeals brought by Oshiomhole and APC challenging his suspension for lacking in merit.

The panel, accordingly, affirmed the decision of the FCT High Court which had in early March ordered the suspension of Oshiomhole as APC national chairman and ordered that he should stop parading himself as the national party of the ruling party.

In a unanimous judgement in the first  ANAP Foundation Advocates Behavioural Change To Tackle COVID-19
appeal delivered by Justice Eunice Onyemanam, the court held that the FCT high court has territorial jurisdiction to entertain the suit as it did.

In withdrawing his rights and privileges as national chairman of the party, including his security details, the appellate court predicated its decision on the ground that Oshiomhole as the first appellant is based in Abuja, while the APC also had its national headquarters in Abuja.

In the judgement on the second appeal delivered by Justice Mohammed Lamido, the court disagreed with Oshiomhole that their right to fair hearing was breached.

Justice Lamido further said there was no basis for the two appellant to hold that they were denied fair hearing during proceedings at the High Court.

He further held that the suspension of Oshiomhole from ward 10 of Etsako local government area of Edo State was ratified at the ward, local government and state level as required by law.

The judge noted that the identity of those who suspended Oshiomhole were not in doubt because in their un- challenged affidavit, they made it clear that they were party members and officers of the party, even as he declared
that the appeal lacks merit.

Oshiomhole and APC were the ap- pellants in the two dismissed appeals. LEADERSHIP recalls that FCT
High Court in Jabi on March 4, 2020 ordered the suspension of Oshiomhole pending the determination of a sub- stantive suit.

The judge, Danlami Senchi, gave the order following an application of interlocutory injunction asking the court to suspend Oshiomhole, having been suspended as a member of the APC by the party in Edo State.
Director-general of the Voice of Nigeria, Osita Okechukwu praised the Court of Appeal judgement, saying
said it was good riddance to bad rubbish.

In a statement he personally signed yesterday, Okechukwu said, “One is vindicated, as I had maintained that Comrade Adams was no more a valid chairman of our great party. That out of narcissism he glossed over his valid suspension by his ward executive and with culture of impunity failed to adhere to the provisions of APC Constitution. A man who lost his ward, LGA and State Exco has no reason to remain chairman.

“The good thing is that his suspension will afford a golden opportunity for the leadership of our party to overhaul and reposition our great party along the core progressive tenets, as we enshrined during merger in our constitution”.
Obaseki Quits APC, Says My Political Battle Will Deepen Democracy Meanwhile, somewhere in Aso Rock, Obaseki who had been locked in an intense political battle with Oshiomhole told journalists that his  struggles with the APC national chairman was meant to deepen democracy in the country.

The Edo State governor was disqualified from participating in the state governorship primary election scheduled for June 22 by the APC screening committee, prompting him to open talks with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as a likely option to pursue his second term ambition.
But informing State House correspondents of his exit from the party, Obaseki dismissed claims of inconsistencies in his certificate, just as he accused Oshiomhole of instigating his disqualification from participating in
the APC primaries.

Obaseki said, “You remember in my last tweet I said that I will make a decision after my disqualification was
announced by APC, and after I have consulted with the leadership and my supporters in Edo State, and also having informed the president. “I am here today to inform you that I have now decided, formally, to resign my membership of the All Progressives Congress. Having done that, I will now announce in the next few days my specific line of action and what platform I will be contesting the gubernatorial election on.“

Asked why he resigned his membership, he replied: “I‘m sure the whole country knows and is aware of what
has gone on with me and the party chairman, which culminated in my disqualification as a gubernatorial aspirant.
“Upon that unfortunate decision by the chairman of the All Progressives Congress, I‘ve decided to go and seek my gubernatorial aspiration on another platform”.

Pointing out that his fight with the APC national chairman was not about grabbing political power, Obaseki said, “It is not about me; it is not about trying to prove a sense of importance; no! It‘s for us.

“21 years into this Republic, democracy must mature, but as democracy is maturing, we now need to begin to show that politics cannot and should not be the preserve of a certain character of people.”
Reacting to claims of inconsistencies in his credentials by the APC screening committee, Obaseki noted that the claims were untrue, blaming the national chairman for instigating the outcome of the committee’s report. He said, “Someone who hasn‘t gone to school, who doesn‘t have certificate himself, will not know and understand what inconsistencies in certificates are. That is the starting point.

“What is the inconsistency? There‘s no inconsistency in my certificates. The issue was in 2016 when I contested for gubernatorial election. I could not find the originals of my certificates because I hadn‘t required them for more than two decades.“

He however noted that he eventually found all the originals of his certificates after deposing to an affidavit over his inability to find the originals. The governor continued: “Maybe the inconsistency he means is in the Youths Corps
certificate where he said my surname was missing an ‚i‘ at the end. But if you look at it,
it was like a cursive; it was written in a cursive manner. So if that is inconsistency for him, then it is really sad that people of that quality are leading Nigeria‘s ruling party.

“For him it was just to look for an excuse to take whatever decision he wants to take and it is really sad that the party structure today gives him that sort of authority without checks. That is dangerous for any system or any institution“.

He further dismissed Oshiomhole‘s postulation that incumbency is not a factor to win elections, saying “time will tell; let us go to the polls and Nigerians will see.“
Following in his boss’ footsteps, the deputy governor of Edo State, Comrade Philip Shaibu also resigned from the APC.

In his resignation letter addressed to the ward chairman, APC Ward 11, Etsako West Local Government Area, he said,

“I write pursuant to Article 9.5 (i) of the Constitution of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to formally resign my Membership of the All Progressives Congress and to inform you of my formal withdrawal from all or any of its proceedings and processes whatsoever. “Please note that this resignation takes immediate effect”.

We‘re Not Aware Of Obaseki’s Resignation – APC Meanwhile, the national leadership

of the APC yesterday declared that it was

not aware of Obaseki and Shaibu‘s resignation from the party. National publicity secretary of APC, Mallam Lanre IssaOnilu, in a terse reaction said, „The party has no record of the reported defection

of Governor Godwin Obaseki from the Progressive party. „We cannot comment at this moment on media reports suggesting the Edo governor or anyone else has left our great party”.

However, Obsaeki‘s resignation attracted mix reactions in the state. While the factional chairman of the

APC loyal to Obaseki in Edo State, Mr Anselm Ojezua, said he will not move out of the party with the governor, the chairman of the faction loyal to Oshiom- hole, Col David, was excited over the

governor‘s exit, saying it was “good riddance to bad rubbish” Ojezua told our correspondent that he won‘t leave the

party with Obaseki because he was elected APC chairman with a four-year mandate which expires by 2022. He said, „I won‘t move. As you can see, I still have my mandate as the elected party chairman of APC in Edo State which expires by 2020 and I intend to complete that mandate.“

On his part, chairman of the Oshiomhole-led camp, Imuse said, “It is a highly welcome development, in-fact it is much expected and it is a good riddance to bad rubbish.

“The party remains the party, we are preparing for our party primaries so by Monday all of you should be prepared

to witness the direct primaries which is going to be a seamless operation because the major pollutant and irritant in our party has filtered himself out so the party is in a joyous mood, I believe you can feel it from my voice. “His going to another party will not affect the chances of the APC.

Membership of political parties is voluntary so he can go to anywhere he likes. It is his constitutional right; it has no

effect on APC“. However, while, party faithful were seen jubilating and dancing at the party secretariat of the Oshiomhole-led faction, special adviser to the governor on political matters, Chief Oasro Idah, said Obaseki resignation was a response to the injustice meted on him by the APC.

“His followers asked him to leave the party, he had to go. We have not decided which party for now but in the next few days the public will know,“ he said.

He’ll Soon Join Us – PDP Meanwhile, the leading opposition party in the state, PDP, confirmed Obaseki‘s plans to join it alongside other top APC officials.

Chairman of the party, Mr Tony Aziegbemi, however said the governor would not be given automatic ticket to

fly the party’s flag as other aspirants had shown interest in the same position. The PDP‘s governorship primary is scheduled for June 19 and 20. In a telephone interview with LEADERSHIP yesterday,

Aziegbemi said Obaseki must comply with the rules of the party when he

eventually defects.

He said, “There is nothing like an automatic ticket for anybody; it is like that in any democratic environment, and there is a process as laid down by the constitution of the party and that we will follow.

“But I can confirm to you that the governor, his deputy, and the entire APC structure in the state will be joining the

PDP soon. We have been in touch in the last few days; by tomorrow (today), I will be able to confirm the exact date he will be joining with his team,“ he said.

Lukman Calls For Caution, Urges APC Members To Remain Steadfast Worried by the situation in the party,

director-general of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Lukman, yesterday called for caution, just as he

urged members of the APC to remain steadfast. He also asked APC leaders to intervene in the crisis rocking the party.

He further pleaded with party members and lovers of democracy in Nigeria not to leave APC because of the actions

of the national chairman. Lukman, in a statement he issued yesterday in Abuja, also challenged the NWC to publish the register of all APC members in every state of the country.

He said, “Without any attempt to qualify electoral experiences since 2019, every member and leader of APC should

be troubled. Being troubled should have spurred us into some sober reflections with the objective of remedying the situation. Unfortunately, it would appear that we are more determined to reproduce all the obdurate painful experiences, every time we are faced with electoral contests.

“It was Rivers, Zamfara and Bayelsa. Now Edo and Ondo are basically on a roller costar with perhaps emerging with

the same predictable outcome that consumed our electoral victories in Zamfara and Bayelsa States.

Why should this be allowed to happen?

“In the end, individuals will make their choices. The hard question that may discomfit us will be where do we

stand on the question of justice? Are we on this roller costar simply because we have to pay the price for all the political infractions we inherited allegedly from Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP)?

If this is the case, wouldn’t it have been better for Nigerians to live with those alleged PDP infractions?

“No need to aspire to any form of consensus on these matters. The first task is for individuals to make their

choices. In making those choices, it is not about identifying with any of our leaders, but about the future of our party and with it our democracy.

“What should be debated is the content of our ambitions and what we want to use it for. To the extent that we are

back in the trenches of undemocratic and brazen conduct of party leaders, we must rise to the challenge of engaging

our leaders to rescue our party, APC, from the hands of leaders who are intolerant.

“That was the incentive, which guided the process leading to the emergence of APC. No one, no matter his/ her position should take Nigerians for a ride. Whether in APC or out of APC, nobody should imagine that party members don’t matter”.

Akeredolu Presents Nomination Forms To PMB, Confident Of Reelection In Ondo Gov’ship Poll

Meanwhile, Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu yesterday expressed

confidence that he will emerge the APC

candidate regardless of the mode of primaries the party adopts in the state.

He stated this while addressing State House correspondents after presenting his expression of interest and nomination forms for the APC primaries

to President Muhammadu Buhari at the

presidential villa.

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