Romanus Ugwu, Godwin Tsa, Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja and Tony Osauzo, Benin
The leadership challenge in the All Progressives Congress (APC) got messier, yesterday, as a Federal High Court in Abuja, directed Chief Victor Giadom to remain in office as acting National Chairman for two weeks.
The court also empowered the APC National Vice Chairman (North East), Mustapha Salihu, to act as National Secretary.
On June 17, party spokesman, Lanre Isa-Onilu, had announced ailing Senator Abiola Ajimobi as acting chairman being the deputy national chairman (South).
The development followed the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which upheld the party’s ambattled national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole’s suspension.
In an exparte motion marked FCTHC/M/6447/2020, Salihu had prayed the court through his counsel, Wole Afolabi, for an order extending the tenure of Giadom.
He specifically asked for an order to extend the lifespan of the order of court made on March 16, “allowing Chief Victor Giadom to pilot the affairs of the party as acting national chairman and to preside at all meetings the National Executive Committee (NEC) pending the decision of NEC fixed for March 17, 2020, or any other subsequent adjourned date pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”
A similar prayer was granted in favour of Salihu to act as National Secretary pending the decision of a validly convened NEC or pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
Justice Samira Umar of the Maitama division of the court granted the exparte orders.
But Salihu has disassociated himself from the purported court order.
Reacting in a telephone chat, he said there was no way he could have been part of the so-called interim order when he was at a meeting of the party’s stakeholders from the North East when the decision was reached to nominate and endorse Waziri Bulama as acting national secretary.
“I was not part of such shenanigan. It is not in my character to play such dirty politics and I condemn in strong terms those behind the act. At a time like this when the party is going through trying times, it is such a time that all lovers of the party must pull together to keep the party running,” he said.
Meanwhile, Director-General Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Lukman, has described APC as a collapsing party with no leader to take charge.
In a statement in Abuja, yesterday, Lukman expressed the concern that the ruling party was turning into a Frankenstein monster that will destroy and pollute Nigeria’s democracy.
“It is as if the party doesn’t have a constitution or those who operate the constitution are either ignorant of its provisions or have decided to set aside the constitution and just embark on a free for all fight. Yet, APC is the ruling party in Nigeria. Is it possible for a ruling party in control of the Federal Government, with President Muhammadu Buhari, who is incontestably the moral leader, not to be able to resolve a matter as important as who presides as the National Chairman?
“How can a party so blessed with experienced and skilful leaders such as Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Bisi Akande, Ogbonnaya Onu, Tony Momoh, etc be incapable of resolving the problem of leadership vacancy? With 20 governors and in control of the National Assembly leadership, producing the Senate President and Speaker, House of Representatives, shouldn’t that serve as a source of strength to be able to solve any leadership dispute in the party, no matter how complex?
“These are practical questions requiring very urgent response. Every loyal member of the party must be ashamed of what is going on now. Within few hours of the Abuja Appeal Court ruling, our party has produced three conflicting claims to the position of the National Chairman. Sen Abiola Ajimobi, Deputy National Chairman South, Hilliary Eta, National Vice Chairman South South and Victor Gaidom, Deputy National Secretary are all within 24 hours of the ruling presented to Nigerians as acting National Chairman by disputing sections of the party’s leadership. All manner of arguments bordering on legal technicalities around interpreting provisions of the party’s constitution are being presented.
“That sickness is old ambition-virus 2023. This illness afflicts many in the political class along with their allies in the media. Those touched by this malady find that their ability to tell time and discern the difference between the present and future has been strongly impaired. The carriers of this sickness are confused as to the very reason our nation now finds itself. They conflate things, which no sensible person would conflate. The primary symptom of their malady is the driving tendency to believe the events of 2023 will be decided before we even exit the year 2020.
“Without doubt, this diagnostic is true. On the strength of this prescriptive accuracy, we may need to ask, is APC faced with a cancerous situation? Could the cancer have spread to have consumed all our leaders?
“What is it that can be done to help our leaders find a permanent handle to resolve current APC leadership challenge? Can we immediately activate intervention of our leaders – President Buhari, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Governors, Asiwaju Tinubu, Akande, Onu, Momoh, etc. similar to what happened in March to resolve this matter? Or, is it that these leaders are also infected by the “old ambition-virus 2023” sickness?
“The situation APC finds itself is very traumatic for every member. By extension, the inability of the party to find solution to the leadership crisis makes it also traumatic for all our leaders, including those of them who today serve as the face of the crisis – Comrade Oshiomhole, Eta, Gaidom and their accomplices in and out of the NWC. What makes the situation more frustrating is the reticence of President Buhari in the face of what obviously could damage the legacy he will bequeath to the nation.
“As part of the treatment, it is very clear we need an organ transplant by way of replacing members of the current NWC who constitute the problem. By provisions of our party’s constitution, it is only the national convention that can discharge that function. And it is only the NEC that can convene the convention. Any hesitation not to convene NEC and hopefully activate the process of convening the national convention could suggest that beyond the NWC, the whole party, APC, is infected with the “old ambition-Virus 2023” all our leaders, President Buhari and Asiwaju Tinubu inclusive. The first test is whether NEC will be convened or not….APC must not be allowed to turn into a Frankenstein monster that will destroy our leaders and pollute our democracy. The capacity of our leaders to resolve this crisis is never in doubt. The issue is how speedily? A stitch in time, saves nine,” he said.