Ganduje-backed APC exco plans appeal against sacking

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abiodun Nejo, Tunde Oyekola and Bola Bamigbola

1 December 2021

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Efforts by the All Progressives Congress National Reconciliation Committee to bring an end to the lingering crises in 13 states has hit a brick wall following a court’s decision to sack the leadership of the party in Kano State which is loyal to Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.

But the Ganduje-backed group has expressed readiness to appeal the verdict.

After receiving about 35 petitions, the nine-member reconciliation committee led by Senator Abdullahi Adamu, began a nationwide tour of the states in crisis on Monday, visiting Kano first.

Barely hours after Adamu met with concerned stakeholders in Kano, a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Maitama ruled that the faction led by Ganduje was not authentic, effectively handing over the APC’s party structure to the faction led by former Governor Ibrahim Shekarau and federal lawmaker, Sha’aban Sharadaas.

Recall that parallel congresses were held in Kano, with Abdullahi Abbas emerging as Chairman of the Ganduje-led group and Ahmadu Zago emerging Chairman of the Shekarau-led group.

The Shekarau faction subsequently went to an FCT High Court praying the court to recognise their own.

Delivering his ruling, Justice Hamza Muazu, granted all five reliefs sought by the Shekarau-led faction including a declaration that the Ganduje-led group did not conduct ward and local government congresses.

In a swift reaction, however, the Kano State Government vowed to appeal the judgment.

Kano State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mohammed Lawal, announced the position of the state government while addressing a news conference in Kano on Tuesday.

“We are very surprised about the judgment because our lawyers had filed relevant documents challenging the jurisdiction of the court because the issue happened here in Kano. We are also very surprised (they the people) chose to go to Abuja High Court because these issues happened here in Kano and the case ought to have been filled in Kano.

“Everybody is well aware of the issue of jurisdiction but in any case, our lawyers filed all the relevant documents on the issue but the court went ahead to say that it has the jurisdiction,” he said.

According to him, the only ward congresses conducted in the state were conducted by only the true leadership of APC in the state.

“Our lawyers are studying the judgement and we are going to appeal the judgement”, the commissioner said.

The APC has been enmeshed in crisis for the last three months over the controversial conduct of ward, local government and state congresses in at least 13 states.

The affected states wherein parallel congresses were held include: Rivers, Ekiti, Ogun, Oyo, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Delta, Osun, Kano, Abia, Zamfara and Kwara.

The PUNCH had reported that the national leadership of the APC was going to take sides with the governors over the controversial congresses. In a bid to ensure that they get the upper hand, those who emerged from congresses not backed by governors, decided to go to court.

It was observed on Tuesday that with the court ruling in favour of Senator Shekarau’s faction, other factions are now optimistic that they can secure victory in court against their respective governors.

‘We’re hopeful of winning our court case in Ekiti’

Reacting to the defeat of Ganduje’s faction, the Coordinator, Southwest Agenda for Asiwaju 2023, Bamigboye Adegoroye, said the ruling would encourage all aggrieved members to pursue their case to logical conclusion.

Adegoroye, a chieftain of APC Stakeholders’ Forum which has taken the APC group loyal to Governor Kayode Fayemi in the state to court over the party congresses, said that the group was hopeful of winning the court case of the aggrieved party members, saying, “We know we have a good case and we are hopeful”.

The SWAGA coordinator added, “Even before the ruling on Kano State APC crisis, we have been very hopeful. We in Ekiti had had hopes that we are going to win the court case. Of course, the judgment on Kano will encourage others to pursue their case.

Shekarau victory has raised our hopes –Kwara faction

The faction of the APC backed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, told The PUNCH that the victory of the Shekarau-backed faction was a huge boost.

Like Kano, Kwara APC also has two factions. While one is led by the minister, the other is backed by Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.

The Vice chairman of the Lai Mohammed faction, Chief Sunday Oyebiyi, said, “We also filed a suit which will come up before the Court in Abuja on Thursday, December 2,2021, we believe  that the suit will be decided by it merit and we believe that we are on the path of the truth.”

However, Prince Sunday Fagbemi, the Chairman of Governor Abdulrazaq faction of APC said that “issue of legality of a faction should not be based on speculation but on fact adding that the case will depend on the merit before the court. Though, I’m not aware of any case involving the state branch of APC before the Court but I think the merit of the case will determine where it goes.”

Shekarau faction’s victory, positive signal for us in Osun -Aregbesola group

Reacting in a chat with one of our correspondents, Kolapo Alimi, the legal adviser of ‘The Osun Progressives,’ a faction in Osun APC backed by Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, said his group had a case similar to the one involving Ganduje and Shekarau factions.

Alimi, added that his group received the news of the victory by the Shekarau faction with optimism and great excitement.

They are daydreaming -Oyetola’s aide

But responding, Special Adviser on Political Matters to Osun State Governor, Sunday Akere, said Oyetola did not circumvent the processes leading to the Congresses of the party.

Akere, who said members of The Osun Progressives were day-dreaming to have believed that what happened in Ganduje/Shekarau suit would repeat itself in Osun, noted that what happened in Kano was clearly different from what transpired in Osun.

“The Congresses that we did in Osun followed due, legal process. And we did everything that supposed to have been done to the detail.”

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