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Crisis in APC: Oshiomhole’s hope dashed as Appeal Court adjourns indefinitely

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Suspended National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole has suffered another major setback as the Court of Appeal in Abuja adjourned indefinitely, hearing on the appeal he brought before the court.

The appellate court on Monday put off Oshiomhole’s matter to undecided date, on the ground that the court has no panel yet to entertain the appeal.

The suspended APC chief along with his legal team comprising Mr Damian Dodo (SAN), Wole Olanipekun (SAN), sympathizers and followers had stormed the court as early as 8am for the case slated for 9am.

However, indications that all will not go well for the suspended APC chief emanated when Justice Stephen Adah and two other Justices entered the court and announced that their panel was not billed Oshiomhole matter.

Jistice Adah who presided over two other cases left the court room with information that another panel will soon be around and that the panel was not ready, parties will be communicated

In less than two minutes after Justice Adah’s panel rose, one of the court registrars announced to the anxious lawyers and audience that hearing in Oshiomhole’s case will not proceed.

The registrar said that a new date for the matter will be communicated to parties as soon as it is fixed.

Faced with reality, Oshiomhole and his retinue of sympathizers left the court premises one after the other while efforts by journalists to have their reactions were turned down.

Oshiomhole who was before then bubbling with joy and exchanging pleasantries with everybody in sight left the Appeal Court premises without a word with his legal team.

In his notice of appeal, Oshiomhole had asked the appellate court to set aside the suspension order slammed on him by an Abuja High Court.

Oshiomhole in the notice of appeal claimed that the judge of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Justice Danlami Senchi, erred in law and arrived at a wrong conclusion which occasioned a miscarriage of justice when the court placed him on suspension at an interlocutory stage of a suit instituted against him by some aggrieved members of the party.

In the notice of appeal predicated on four grounds, the embattled Oshiomhole said that the High Court further erred in law when it decided that he in the performance of his duties as APC National Chairman would interfare in the court action filed against him by the aggrieved members.

Respondents in the appeal are; APC National Vice Chairman, North East, Comrade Mustapha Saliu, APC Edo State Chairman, Honourable Anselm Ojezua, Alhaji Sani Gomna, Mr Oshawo Stephen, Honourable Fani Wabulari and Evangelist Princewill Ejogharado.

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The rest are the Inspector General of Police and the State Security Service.

In the appeal filed by his counsel, Mr Damian Dodo SAN, Oshiomhole contended that the issue of his performance of duties as APC National Chairman is a matter which arose from substantive issues for determination and claim and ought not to have been determined at the interlocutory stage of the main matter.

Among other grounds in the appeal, the suspended National Chairman claimed that the trial judge erred in law and arrived at a wrong conclusion which occasioned a miscarriage when after ordering the filing of pleadings and immediately set down motion for interlocutory injunction for hearing in the absence of pleadings.

He further faulted the suspension order against him on the grounds that the trial court determined the motion for interlocutory injunction without recourse to triable issues which ought to have been discerned from pleadings.

Justice Danlami Senchi of an Abuja High Court had ordered the former Edo governor to step down as National Chairman of the APC, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit seeking his removal from office as National Chairman of the ruling APC.

Justice Senchi, who gave the order in a ruling on an interlocurtory motion filed by Mustapha Salihu and five others, also ordered Oshiomhole to stop parading himself as National Chairman of the APC until the issues challenging his leadership of the party is resolved.

The plaintiffs in the application filed on January 16, 2020 and argued by their lawyer, Mr Oluwole Afolabi, had urged the court to declare Oshiomhole’s continued stay in office illegal having allegedly been suspended from the APC.

Arguing the motion with number: M/4292/2020, Afolabi told the court that Oshiomhole had up till then failed to challenge his suspension from the party.

Afolabi had told the court that Oshiomhole’s rights as a member is currently abated, and he cannot continue to act as chairman of the party, adding that Oshiomhole cannot continue to enjoy benefits from the APC, despite his suspension as a member of the party.

The Ward 10 Executives of the APC had late last year suspended Oshiomhole from the APC. The suspension was ratified by the Etsako West Local Government Executive Committee and was subsequently upheld by the State Executive Committee of the Party.

The plaintiffs accordingly prayed the court for an interlocutory order restraining Oshiomhole from parading himself or performing any function as National Chairman of the APC.

Justice Senchi after listening to the submissions of the plaintiffs’ lawyer, granted the interlocutory order as prayed and fixed April 7 and 8 for hearing in the substantive suit.

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