NIGERIA’S ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has been thrown into a fresh crisis after the party’s deputy national secretary Victor Giadom declared himself chairman following the suspension of Adams Oshiomhole and then proceeded to reverse the de-selection of Governor Godwin Obaseki as its candidate in Edo State gubernatorial elections.
In what has been a tumultuous week for the APC, Governor Obaseki resigned from the party after his application to stand for a second term as the party’s gubernatorial elections due in September was rejected. He and party chairman Adams Oshiomhole have been involved in a bitter spat over recent years, resulting in the party’s screening committee rejecting his application, saying his academic credentials were not in order.
Subsequently, Governor Obaseki resigned from the party and has obtained a membership card of the main opposition the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He is now expected to stand as the PDP candidate in the September elections against the APC, who are due to nominate their own governorship candidate on June 22.
Yesterday, however, events took a dramatic turn when Nigeria’s Court of Appeal upheld a judgement suspending Mr Oshiomhole as party chairman. Under the dictates of the party’s constitution, one of its vice chairmen should take over and the APC national working committee (NWC) subsequently named former Oyo State governor Senator Abiola Ajimobi as acting chairman.
Senator Ajimobi is the party’s deputy chairman southwest and has been appointed to head the APC despite the fact that he is in hospital suffering from coronavirus-related infections. However, Chief Victor Giadom, the party’s deputy national secretary insists that he is the acting national chairman.
Chief Giadom’s lawyer, Wole Afolabi, insisted that a court order of issued on March 16 by Justice Bature that his client acts as the national chairman following the then suspension of Mr Oshiomhole remains valid. In a swift reaction, Chief Giadom has not only declared himself the authentic party chairman but has proceeded to nullify the rejection of Governor Obaseki’s nomination.
He has asked all the governorship aspirants in Edo state to report for a fresh screening exercise. Chief Giadom described the exercise overseen by Mr Oshiomhole which rejected Governor Obaseki’s nomination as a brazen rape on the rule of law.
Chief Giadom added: “Our party, the All Progressives Congress, will no longer allow local quests for the control of power to influence our decisions. As your acting national chairman and presiding officer in the NWC, we therefore cancel the decision of the screening and appeal committees of the former chairman of the party on the Edo primaries.
“This is in strict compliance with the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that forbids anyone who is interested in a cause to be a judge in that same cause. It is a brazen rape of the rule of law and the constitution for Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to preside and select committees in respect to the governorship primaries in Edo State being a key player in the crisis in that state.
“Whatever role of the former chairman was given to play in that process, it cannot override the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which governs
all of us. We therefore, ask all aspirants in the governorship primaries to report for fresh screening between today and tomorrow.
“I call on all aspirants to remain in the All Progressives Congress as we guarantee fairness and justice to all concerned. The schedule and time for each aspirant shall be communicated.”
He added that he has asked Muhammad Sani lbrahim, the APC’s deputy organising secretary, to assume office as the national organising secretary. It is not yet clear of the rest of the party will accept this declaration as Senator Ajimobi has promised to summon a national executive committee meeting to resolve all contending issues, suing for peace among stakeholders.