A Benue High Court, presided over by the Chief Judge of the State, Maurice Ikpambese, has ordered the reinstatement of Mr Austin Agada, as Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Ikpambese gave the order yesterday while ruling on a motion seeking to set aside the Interim Order, restraining Agada from parading himself as Chairman of the APC in Benue.
Agada was suspended by the Benue High Court in Aliade, presided over by Justice Lilian Tsumba, over allegations of anti-party activities.
After listening to the arguments of counsel to Agada, Mr Agaba Moses and Mr J.J Usman, SAN, Ikpambese vacated the order restraining Agada from parading himself, functioning and acting as the Chairman of the APC in Benue.
The Chief Judge ruled that under Order 39 Rule 3, of the Benue State High Court Procedure Rules, 2023, the lifespan of an interim order is seven days, and since the order was issued on Feb 2, it had elapsed by law.
He also ruled that Tsumba, who restrained Agada, did not have the jurisdiction to give an Interim Order, since the matter was not assigned to her by the Chief Judge, or the Superior Judge in Aliade.
Ikpambese further nullified the appointment of Benjamin Omakolo as Acting Chairman of the APC in Benue, and any other appointments made from February 2.
The Chief Judge therefore, said he would assign the matter to another judge, who would hear the matter on its merits.
But the new APC chairman Benjamin Omakolo said nothing has changed as he is still the chairman.
Omakolo stated further that the person who took Agada to court has appealed 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.”