A High Court in Benue has ordered the reinstatement of Mr Austin Agada as Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Chief Judge Maurice Ikpambese issued the order on Monday, overturning the Interim Order restraining Agada from serving as Chairman of the APC in Benue.
The initial decision was made by Justice Lilian Tsumba at the Benue High Court in Aliade due to allegations of anti-party activities.
After considering arguments from Agada’s counsels, Mr Agaba Moses and Mr J.J Usman, SAN, Ikpambese revoked the restraining order, citing the expiration of its seven-day lifespan as per Order 39 Rule 3 of the Benue State High Court Procedure Rules, 2023. He also declared that Tsumba lacked jurisdiction to issue the Interim Order.
Additionally, Ikpambese invalidated Benjamin Omakolo’s appointment as Acting Chairman of the APC in Benue, along with any other appointments made since February 2. The Chief Judge indicated the matter would be reassigned to another judge for further deliberation.
Despite this ruling, Benjamin Omakolo maintains his position as APC chairman, noting that the individual who initiated the legal action against Agada has filed an appeal against the judgment.
Speaking to The Nation, Omakolo said: “Whether the order restraining him from parading himself as the Chairman is vacated or not the fact that he has been suspended by his ward still places a ban on him to be able to function as APC chairman in Benue State.
“And it will interest you to know that in the ruling or court today no matter concerning my person or role as the acting chairman was mentioned. So, I remain the valid acting State chairman of the APC in Benue State. I remain the one who pilots the affairs of the APC in Benue State and the APC family takes instructions and directives from my office as the acting chairman of APC in the state.
“And even that wrong vacation that was done in the high court has already been appealed against. There is nothing that can make Austin Agada based on his errors and suspension return as the chairman of APC in Benue forever.
“The person who took him to court has appealed the judgment because it is not correct in law for a high court to restrain and another High Court, a court of coordinates jurisdiction to vacate it. I have long assumed office as the acting chairman of APC in Benue State.”