For Oshiomhole, it’s time to Beware the Ides of March
By Omeiza Ajayi
Traditionally, The Ides of March is simply March 15 in the Roman Calendar. Although the phrase predated William Shakespeare, his play, Julius Caesar in which the main character, Caesar was killed on March 15 despite a forewarning from the Soothsayer has made the day become ominous.
No fewer than 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius were involved in the attack. Since then,
The Ides of March as a phrase has become mostly associated with anything negative, evil or unpleasant even when such events did not take place in the month of March.
On 23rd June 2018, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole emerged as the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC
However, no sooner had he assumed the reins of power than he started having problems. The problems were such that within his first year in office, the National Working Committee NWC under him had suspended several party leaders including then Govs. Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun) and Rochas Okorocha (Imo) for various offences. Later, the Deputy National Chairman, North, of the party, Sen. Lawal Shuaibu was equally suspended.
In the midst of these, there has been no love lost between the national chairman and his own state Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki.
Then his preference, (though backed by a majority of the NWC members) for Arch. Waziri Bulama as acting National Secretary of the party also pitched him against the National Vice Chairman, Northeast of the party, Comrade Mustapha Salihu who wanted the office retained by Yobe state rather than it being moved to Borno.
So, it was not surprising that one Steven Oshawo and others of Ward 10, Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo state had on 2nd November 2019 announced the suspension of Comrade Oshiomhole.
Oshawo and others from Oshiomhole’s Ward 10 had consequently gone to a Federal Capital Territory FCT High Court asking it to stop the party chairman from parading himself as National Chairman of the APC, alleging that Oshiomhole had since been suspended from the APC by members of his ward.
However, on 29th January 2020, the court presided over by Justice S.C.Oriji struck out the matter and awarded N100, 000 cost against the Plaintiffs.
Before then, on 23rd January 2020, a Federal Capital Territory FCT High Court in Jabi had refused to grant the Exparte Application filed by the National Vice Chairman, North East of the APC, Comrade Mustapha Salihu, a factional Chairman of the APC in Edo state, Anselm Ojezua and others, seeking to remove Comrade Oshiomhole from office.
The court instead ordered that the Defendants (Oshiomhiole, APC and others) be put on notice before the motion is heard so as to ensure fair hearing in the matter.
And so it was that on 4th March 2020, the same court presided over by Justice Danlami Senchi granted an interlocutory injunction directing that Oshiomhole should remain out of office pending the determination of a substantive suit brought against him by some aggrieved members of the party.
Shortly after, the then Acting National Secretary of the party, Chief Victor Giadom assured that the party would respect the court order, but in what appeared a counter move, the party spokesman issued a statement on behalf of the NWC, announcing the approval of the nomination of Arch. Waziri Bulama as acting National Secretary. While, Sen. Abiola Ajimobi was also announced as Deputy National Chairman, South, Mr Paul Chukwuma was announced as National Auditor.
The following day, however, Justice A. Lewis Allagoa of the Federal High Court in Kano ordered that the status quo ante bellum be maintained, adding that pending the hearing of the motion on notice by the applicant, Aliyu Muhammad Rabiu, that the defendants (the APC, Oshiomhole, IG of Police, INEC and DGSS) should not give effect to the purported resolution of Ward 10, Etsako local government area which suspended Comrade Oshiomhole.
The court also restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC “from dealing, communicating or howsoever recognising any person other than the 2nd defendant (Oshiomhole) as the National Chairman of the 1st defendant (APC) for any party business or carrying out any duties bested on the Commission by the Electoral Act”.
The Kano Court did not exactly set aside the order of the FCT High Court, because the applicant had challenged the reported suspension of Comrade Oshiomhole by his Ward and the Judge ordered that the status quo ante bellum, that is, the situation of things before the 2nd November 2019 purported suspension of Comrade Oshiomhole by his Ward 10 executives be maintained.
The applicant did not ask the court to set aside the order of the FCT High Court. While lawyers and analysts would continue to be divided on this issue, in the coming days, however, the Court of Appeal where Oshiomhole has filed for a stay of execution of the order of the FCT High Court would lay the matter to rest, at least in the interim, in case either of the parties might want to approach the Supreme Court.
This might appear as a reprieve for Comrade Oshiomhole but it is not yet Uhuru. He may perhaps wish to read Shakespeare’s, Julius Caesar. While going to the Theatre of Pompey, where he was later killed, Caesar had passed the Soothsayer, and feeling confident that he was already in the middle of March and yet still alive contrary to the prophecy that he would be killed, he jokingly told the soothsayer, “The Ides of March comes”. By that, he meant that the prophecy had come to a nullity, but the soothsayer replied to him; “Aye, Caesar; but not gone.” Dear Oshiomhole, The Ides of March have come, but they are not gone yet! Beware.