Tony Osauzo, Benin
Appeal Court in Benin, yesterday, adjourned till tomorrow, hearing in the appeal filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, challenging the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court (FHC) to entertain a suit seeking to stop the party’s governorship primary in Edo State.
Specifically, Oshiomhole is seeking an order of the Court of Appeal for a stay of further proceedings in the suit at the FHC, filed by a factional deputy chairman of the APC, Kenneth Asekomhe, and Matthew Iduoriyekemwen, seeking to stop the Edo State chapter of the APC from using direct primary to nominate its governorship candidate.
Last Sunday, the APC National Working Committee (NWC) expelled the plaintiffs, who are allies of Governor Godwin Obaseki, from the party for going to court in contravention of the party’s constitution.
The presiding Judge, Justice Morenike Ogunwomiju, adjourned hearing in the suit till tomorrow.
The appellants’ counsel, Kingsley Obamogie, while speaking with newsmen after yesterday’s sitting of the court, said: “The court granted accelerated hearing of the appeal by Oshiomhole. The court also granted an order, directing a departure from the rules of the Court of Appeal, with respect to hearing of the appeal.
“The respondents were given 24 hours within which to file their briefs, in answer to the appellants’ brief already filed. The appellants were given 12 hours, if need be, to file his reply brief. The appeal is now fixed for hearing tomorrow.”
Counsel to the respondents, Ken Mozia, said his clients had an application before the appellate court to decline entertaining the appeal, on the grounds that the lower court had not been given the opportunity to determine any of the issues.
The suit with reference number: CA/B/128/2020, has as appellants, the APC and Oshiomhole, while the respondents are Asekomhe, Iduoriyekemwen, Independent National Electoral Commission and Inspector General of Police.
Meanwhile, mixed reactions trailed Obaseki’s exit from APC.
Acting state Chairman of the party in Edo, Col. David Imuse (retd), said: ”It is a welcome development, in fact, it is much expected and it is a good riddance to bad rubbish.
“The party remains, we are preparing for our party primary so by Monday, all of you should be prepared to witness the direct primary 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.”
On his part, the state Chairman, loyal to Governor Obaseki, Anselm Ojezua, said he will not move with the governor, adding that he was elected as chairman of APC with a four-year mandate which expires by 2022.
“I won’t move. I still have my mandate and I intend to complete that mandate,” he said.
Also, former deputy governor, Peter Obadan, said: “I think the politics will be bright, he is going to commit himself; nobody is going to stop him from that but on November 12, he is going to handover to another governor to be elected because it is not going to be Obaseki this time around.
Former political adviser to Oshiomhole, Charles Idahosa, said: “It is a good development. We took the decision, the party leadership and the council executives. That is what I have been saying; APC is now Adams Progressives Congress and not APC.
“We are still talking, the governor has not decided and when he decides, wherever he goes we will all move with him.”