Embattled National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, yesterday got a reprieve as a Federal High Court in Kano issued an interim order halting his suspension as the chairman of the ruling party.
Oshiomhole also thursday declared that the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, which restrained him from further parading himself as the national chairman of the APC on Wednesday had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
He said aside the decision of the Federal High Court, Kano which yesterday overrode the decision of the FCT court, he had been properly advised by his lawyer that the latter court lacked the capacity to issue the order it made.
But in a swift reaction, a member of the National Working Committee (NWC) and Vice Chairman (North-east), Mr. Mustapha Salihu, insisted that Oshiomhole remains suspended.
This is coming as some senior lawyers have expressed worries over the way and manner courts of coordinate jurisdiction give orders that seem to be in conflict with one another, describing the development as not only confusing but bizarre.
At its sitting thursday, Justice Lewis Allagoa of the Federal High Court in Kano, asked parties involved to “maintain the status quo ante bellum (the situation before the current state)” pending the court’s final decision.
The judge gave the ruling following an application by one Aliyu Muhammadu Rabiu praying the court to stop the APC and INEC from effecting Oshiomhole’s suspension.
The application specifically asked the court to stop those involved in the matter from giving effect to the resolution of the APC helmsman’s ward to suspend him in 2019.
The judge directed that, “all the parties to this suit to maintain the status quo ante pending the hearing and disposal of the motion on notice filed herein that is, an order directing the 1st ,3rd ,4th and 5th defendants either by themselves, servants, assigns it any officer howsoever described and by whatever name called from giving effect to the purported resolution of the Ward 10, Etsako West local government area of 2nd November of the 1st respondent pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
“That the 3rd defendant is restrained from dealing, communicating or howsoever recognising any person other than the 2nd defendant as the national chairman of the 1st defendant for any party business or carrying out any duties vested in the commission by the Electoral Act.”
The judge also ordered that the defendants in the suit shall enter appearance and file their process in defence of this suit abridged to seven days, while also adjourning the matter to 8th April, 2020 for hearing.
Immediately the court judgment was delivered, Oshiomhole hurriedly arranged for press conference which was later cancelled because he was summoned from the Villa.
The chairman while rushing out to answer the president’s call told journalists not to look at him with pity.
“Are you looking at me with pity?’ Oshiomhole asked journalists.
Apart from the APC and police, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Department of State Services (DSS) were joined as defendants in the Kano suit.
The court adjourned the case to April 8, 2020 for hearing and gave the defendants seven days to enter appearance and file their processes in defence of the suit.
While the interim order does not relate to Oshiomhole’s suspension by a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja on Wednesday, it rubs off on it given that the court’s judgment was based on Oshiomhole’s suspension by his ward.
The Abuja court had said it was wrong for him to remain at the helm of affairs after his suspension by the state chapter of the party.
The Edo State chapter of the APC suspended Oshiomhole — who has been at daggers drawn with Governor Godwin Obaseki.
The APC chairman in Edo, Mr. Anselm Ojezua, had said Oshiomhole was suspended because of “his role” in the crisis rocking the state chapter of the party