By OBINNA EZUGWU
President Muhammadu Buhari and former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu have backed different candidates in the ongoing leadership crisis rocking the All Progressive Congress (APC), following the appeal court validation of the suspension of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as National Chairman.
It would be recalled that while the National Working Committee of the party appointed former Oyo State governor and Deputy National Chairman, South, Abiola Ajimobi to take over as Acting Chairman, and because he is indisposed, Mr. Hilliard Eta was chosen to act on his behalf, Chief Victor Gaidom, Deputy National Secretary, South South, had argued that he was the rightful Acting National Chairman because according to him, an initial High Court Judgement which suspended Oshiomhole as national chairman, had recognised him as Acting Chairman on account of his being the most senior official of the party from the South at the time.
Gaidom argued that since the Appeal Court validated the High Court judgement, he should be Acting National Chairman.
The NWC, however, disagreed with him and proceeded to obtain a court order restraining him from parading himself as Acting National Chairman.
While the controversy has continued, President Buhari on Wednesday, backed Gaidom recognising him as the rightful Acting chairman, while on the same day, Tinubu released a statement backing Eta.
Buhari in a statement by his senior special adviser on media, Mallam Garba Shehu, said he had received convincing evidence that Gaidom is legally the acting chairman and promised to attend the virtual National Executive Council (NEC) meeting being called by Gaidom for Thursday.
“The President has received very convincing advice on the position of the law as far as the situation in the party is concerned and has determined that the law is on the side of Victor Giadom as Acting National Chairman,” Shehu said.
“Because he will always act in accordance with the law, the President will be attending the virtual meeting Giadom called for tomorrow afternoon.
“We urge the media to stop promoting manufactured controversies and to not give any further room for mischievous interpretations of the law on this matter. In addition to the President, the Giadom meeting will, hopefully, be attended by our Governors and the leaders of the National Assembly.”
Buhari’s statement comes as Tinubu released his own statement accusing Gaidom and those backing him of trying to destroy the party.
The acclaimed national leader of party argued that the NEC meeting being called by Gaidom was wrong, and that he could not have had the temerity to call the meeting if he wasn’t being backed by powerful people.
“We even had the National Deputy Secretary improperly calling for an NEC meeting on the basis that he believed himself to be the Acting National Chairman. Clearly, this man would not have summoned the temerity to make such a move had he not been instigated by powerful individuals whom he thought would reward, or at least, protect him for committing the wrongful act. ” Tinubu said.
Meanwhile, a High Court siting in JOS, Plateau State has granted an Order compelling GiadomBto proceed with the NEC meeting fixed for Thursday, June 25th, 2020.
The Order was made upon the Application of the Chairman of Plataeu APC, Mr. Latep Dabang, who is also a member of NEC. He complained that the provision of the APC Constitution regarding the convening of a quarterly NEC meeting has been serially abused and ignored by the present NWC, leading to a litany of illegalities by the NWC.
Yet, in what appears to be a dig at the former Lagos governor, Gaidom has reportedly banned him from participating in Thursday’s NEC meeting because his position as national leader of the party is not recognized by the constitution.