Court suspended Adam Oshiomhole as APC Chairman

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Justice Danlami Senchi on Wednesday ordered Oshiomhole to stop parading himself as the chairman of the party pending the determination of the substantive suit, which is seeking his perpetual removal as the APC chairman. 

The court order followed a motion on notice filed on January 16 by Comrade Mustapha Salihu, the APC National Vice Chairman for North East; Anselm Ojezua, the party’s Edo State chairman; and four others. The motion had Oshiomhole, APC, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and State Security Service (SSS) as the respondents.

They had asked the court through their lawyer, Oluwole Afolabi, for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining Oshiomhole (1st respondent) 

“from continuing to parade himself or performing any function as the National Chairman of the 2nd respondent (APC) or representing the 2nd respondent in any capacity pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.” 

They also asked for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining APC from recognising or continuing to recognise Oshiomhole as its National Chairman 

“including giving effect to any of his decisions or according him any privilege/benefit accruing to its National Chairman pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.” 

Also, they asked for “an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the 2nd respondent from permitting or continuing to permit the 1st respondent to function as its National Chairman including representing the 2nd respondent at any engagement or allowing him access to the office of Chairman of the 2nd respondent pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.” 

They also asked the court to order the IGP and SSS “to deploy their staff, agents and operatives to prevent the 1st respondent from continuing to occupy the office of the National Chairman of the 2nd respondent and from having access to the said office pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.” 

Adopting processes on the motion on Monday, Afolabi told the court that the essence of the motion was to preserve the res (subject matter) of the substantive suit. He argued that the applicants’ contention was that Oshiomhole, a former governor of Edo state, had been suspended by the Edo state chapter of the party and has not challenged the said suspension. 

Afolabi argued that his (Oshiomhole) rights as a member was currently abated and as such, he could not continue to act as chairman of the party, a position meant for a substantive member. He said granting the motion became more expedient in view of recent losses suffered by the party in Zamfara, Rivers and Bayelsa states. In objection to the motion, Barrister Ginika, holding the brief of Damian Dodo (SAN) for the 1st and 2nd respondent, urged the court to dismiss the motion, arguing that the applicants did not place any material before the court that entitled them to the reliefs being sought for in the motion. 

She added that the reliefs being sought in the motion were the same as the ones in the substantive suit and granting the former would affect the substantive suit. Delivering ruling on Wednesday, Justice Senchi granted all the four reliefs sought by the applicants. Subsequently, counsel for Oshiomhole and APC, Damian Dodo (SAN) asked the court for an order of accelerated hearing for the substantive suit. 

Granting the application, the judge adjourned the matter to April 7 and 8 for the hearing of the substantive suit. Earlier, the court had dismissed a motion from the SSS seeking to be removed as a party in the suit. The judge had held that the IGP and SSS could and were joined as nominal parties to enforce the decision of the court. 

The court had also earlier dismissed the preliminary objection of Oshiomhole and APC to the substantive suit. The judge further held that though the suit was wrongly commenced by originating summon (instead of writ of summons as it contains contentious issues), the proper order the court’s rules permit was not to dismiss the suit but to order pleadings to be filed by parties.

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