By Eric Ikhilae, Abuja
The Abuja Court of Appeal on Tuesday night confirmed the suspension of Adams Oshiomhole as National President of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The appellate court dismissed both appeals filed by Oshiomhole and the All Progressive Congress (APC).
A panel of three members of the Court of Appeal, after dismissing both appeals for lack of merit, proceeded with the decision of 4 March of the Superior Court of FCT.
The first appeal had questioned the jurisdiction of the Supreme Federal Court of the Territory of the Federal Capital (FCT) to hear the case related to its suspension by the local branch of his party.
In the second appeal, Oshiomhole and APC claimed that a fair hearing was denied by Alto da FCT, in the proceedings that led to their granting an interlocutory injunction on March 4 this year, preventing Oshiomhole from continuing to present himself as the APC National President. .
The court also told the High Court the FCT's withdrawal of Oshiomhole's rights and privileges as APC's National President, including his security details.
Judge Eunice Onyemanam, in the main trial of the first appeal, considered that the Supreme Court of FCT had territorial jurisdiction to have heard the action and issued interlocutory restraining orders.
Judge Onyemanam said the court was right in rejecting Oshiomle's preliminary objection challenging his jurisdiction.
She added that, as Oshiomhole is based in Abuja and at her party's national headquarters in Abuja, the FCT Supreme Court was dressed in jurisdiction to hear the case that had them as defendants.
Judge Onyemanam held that, by virtue of the Superior Court of Civil Procedure Rules of the FCT, the plaintiffs were right to bring the action before the Abuja court.
She maintained that the plaintiffs' lawsuit at the FCT Superior Court did not represent an abuse of the judicial process.
Judge Onyemanam said it was not true that the plaintiffs had two pending cases on the same subject in the same court.
She noted that the plaintiffs had no intention of using both processes, and that the one marked FCT / HC / CV / 2019 has been withdrawn.
"Unless we intend to comply with the law and established procedures, there is no element of abuse in this case," she said.
Judge Onyemanam held that the principle that a court was prevented from interfering in the internal affairs of a political party was not applicable to the case.
Contrary to Oshiomhole's argument, the judge also found that the plaintiffs had legitimacy to bring the action and accused the appellants' claims that none of the plaintiffs had any benefit in deriving from the outcome of the action.
In the second appeal, Judge Mohammed Lamido held in the main trial that, against Oshiomle's claim, there was evidence that his right to a fair hearing was denied by the court.
Judge Lamido was of the opinion that there was no basis for Oshiomhole and APC (listed as appellants) to claim that they were denied a fair hearing during the proceedings in the higher court.
Judge Lamido held that, contrary to the appellants' argument, the order issued by the court of first instance was for his suspension and not removal from office.
He said the party's decision in Ward 10 in Etsako LGA of 2 November 2019 to suspend him from office has been ratified by the local government and state executives.
Judge Lamido noted that Oshiomhole promptly filed a lawsuit, challenging his suspension on December 9, 2019, but later withdrew it with an erroneous impression.
He noted that it took 72 days from the day he was suspended to file another lawsuit to challenge his suspension by the party.
Judge Lamido held that the plaintiffs in the trial court. who were the defendants in the appeal, placed enough material in the lower court to justify granting the interlocutory order.
He said: "In these circumstances, the court's position that the plaintiffs made a case for issuing the interlocutory order is appropriate and that part of the decision is confirmed," said Judge Mohammed.
He further maintained: "In the circumstances, I believe that the applicant's right to a fair hearing has not been violated. The appeal is not merit and is hereby denied."
On March 16, 2020, a panel of the Court of Appeal, tried by Judge Abubakar Yahaya, upon hearing an ex parte motion argued by Osoleomhole by Wole Olanipekun (SAN), suspended the execution of the March 4 interlocutory order of the Supreme Court of Pending the hearing of your appeal.
The appellate court's decision on the substantive appeal on Tuesday restores interlocutory order.
APC wing executives suspended Oshiomhole in November 2019 as a party member for anti-party activities, a decision in which the FCT Supreme Court anchored the Oshiomhole's suspension order on November 2, 2019.
The main lawsuit that led to Oshiomhole's suspension order was brought before the Superior Court of FCT by six candidates, including the party's vice president, Northeast, Mustapha Salihu, and the party president in Edo State, Anslem Ojezua.
The other candidates are members of the 10th wing of Oshiomhole, in the local government area of Etsako West, in the state of Edo, Alhaji Sani Gomna, Oshawo Steven, Fanhaw Wabulari and Princewill Ejogharado.
Oshiomhole, who was represented on Tuesday by a team of lawyers led by Damian Dodo (SAN), was in court during the process.
The court heard both appeals on Tuesday and returned hours later to deliver the sentences.
Neither Oshiomhole nor his lawyer answered questions from reporters at the end of the process.
A lawyer enthusiastic about the interviewees, Oluwole Afolabi, praised the court for its decisions.
Afolabi said: "The implication is that Adams Oshiomhole can no longer present himself as APC's national president," he said.
He also explained that since the FCT High Court decision, which was appealed by Oshiomhole, was an interlocutory decision, the next step was to return to the court to complete the substantive hearing.