Kwara APC Crisis:†S'Court fixes April 8 for judgement between Balogun-Fulani, Bolarinwa factions
Will the court sack the Kwara State Governor-elect, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq or validate the judgement of the lower court to declare Kayode Abdulwahab Omotose as the rightful candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last general elections in Kwara State.
Answer(s) to the above posers will form the thrust of the Supreme Court judgement slated for Monday April 8, 2019 in Abuja on the protracted leadership crisis rocking the Kwara State chapter of the APC.
One of the counsels to the Ishola Balogun-Fulani faction of the party, Bamidele AbdulWahab confirmed the date to this reporter last night, in a telephone chat adding that, "We have been notified about it".
Yusuf Olaolu Ali (SAN) is the lead counsel of the Balogun-Fulani led executive while Akin Olujimi (SAN) represented the Bashiru Omolaja Bolariwa (BOB) faction at the Appeal Court which was initially handled by Salman Jawondo.
The judgement, depending on where the pendulum would swing is expected to have a major impact on the political situation in the state and many of the party stakeholders and supporters are already looking forward to it.
Already, the case has become a major talking point in high quarters in the state especially after what a member of one of the parties described as "disturbing" pronouncements of the court in other states like Rivers, Zamfara and Delta over the same leadership crisis.
After the Kwara State High Court, on Wednesday December 19, 2018, recognised the executive committee of the Ishola Balogun-Fulani led APC, the Appeal Court sitting in Ilorin upturned the judgement of the lower court which was appealed by the Balogun-Fulani faction and thus setting the ground for the present scenario.
In his 13-point claims before the court, the claimants prayed the court to declare the appointment of Bolarinwa as illegal among other requests.
Delivering his judgement, Justice Taoheed S. Umaru of the Kwara State High Court, held that the APC National Working Committee (NWC) had no power to dissolve the executives led by Balogun-Fulani and directed INEC to recognise only the Balogun-Fulani-led executive committee in the state.
According to the judge, there is no lacuna in the party which would have warranted the inauguration of another executive by the NWC adding that the Balogun-Fulani executives was duly elected on May 5 and sworn in by national officers of the party on June 4.
Justice Umaru, therefore, ordered INEC to recognise all candidates presented by the Balogun-Fulani faction to contest the 2019 elections and declared as null, void and unconstitutional all actions taken by the Bolarinwa faction since June.
According to Justice Umaru, the dissolution of the Balogun-Fulani executive is unconstitutional and against the rule of law and further granted a perpetual injunction against the Bolarinwa executive from carrying out any function as chairman of the party in Kwara State.
Balogun-Fulani and Christopher Ayeni (Secretary) had instituted a suit against the APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the APC, the partyís National Working Committee, INEC and Hon Bashir Bolarinwa over the dissolution of his executives.
But the Appeal Court on Tuesday 19 February, 2019 sacked the Balogun-Fulani led executive and affirmed Bolarinwa as the authentic chairman of the APC in Kwara State, upholding the position of the APC NWC.
The appellate court judgement delivered and read by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa upheld the expulsion of Balogun-Fulani and his executive members from the party by the NWC.
The court had contended in the judgement that the state executive committee of a party is only an appendage of its national headquarters and is not imbued with the powers to conduct primaries for national elections.
The three-man panel affirmed that the high court ruling was built on nothing as the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the Balogun-Fulaniís case challenging his dismissal as the APC chairman in Kwara.