A coalition of All Progressives Congress (APC) support groups has expressed support for elongation of the tenure of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party led by Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
The groups, in a position paper made available to newsmen on Monday in Abuja, said they had watched with keen interest developments that followed the 5th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting and the sudden change of stance by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The paper was co-signed by Prince Danisi Momoh, Convener, APC Youth Solidarity Network, Comrade Japhet Echegwo, Coordinator Grassroots Mobilisation for Buhari /Osinbajo 2019, Comr Kede Michael South-South Youth Movement for Change, Amb Tega Okokoyoko, Director-General, Buhari Supporters for Change, Ibrahim Yusman, APC North Central Buhari/Osinbajo Support Group.
Others are Lanre Jimiloyi, Oduduwa for Change movement, Dipreye Victor, APC Ambassadors for Continuity, Comrade Champion Eyigie , Director-General, APC Advocacy for Transparency and Good Governance and Mrs Elizabeth Omokoro, Chairperson, Women for Change network.
Buhari had recently directed that tenure elongation of APC’s National Chairman, Odigie-Oyegun and other National and State Executive Officers of the party be reversed.
He described the elongation of their tenure by one year as unconstitutional.
Buhari had told the NEC meeting of the party that he had reflected on the elongation and also sought advice and had come to the conclusion that it was unconstitutional.
However, the coalition said that it was worried over Buhari’s sudden opposition to the 12-months tenure extension for party executives voted on and approved by NEC–104 in support and four against.
“Hence, we are of the firm position that although the president is entitled to take a personal position as a member of NEC, the president’s decision is ill-advised and politically counter-productive.
“Following NEC’s decision to setup a technical committee to advise the party on the President’s decision, we call on the committee to note the logistical and political exigencies that informed NEC’s decision to extend the tenure of Party Executives by 12 months and also be guided by the following facts before arriving at its decisions.
“Coupled with the crisis the Party is battling with in many states and many important activities of the Party this year and the available time, NEC found it unwise to embark on a wholesale replacement of the executive cadre of the Party at all levels at a time so close to the general election.
“ For clarity, NEC, unarguably the second most powerful party organ is a hybrid of senior party leaders composed of the President, Vice President, Governors, National Assembly leadership, National Working Committee, State Chairmen and ex-officio members from the six geo-political zones of the country.’’
The coalition said that procedurally, a move to reverse NEC’s decision could only be done if NEC reversed itself or the Party’s convention voted to nullify it.
The coalition said that a reversal could not be effected by a personal position taken by the president or any other NEC member, as being suggested in some quarters particularly the media.
The groups appealed to Buhari to look at the issues critically and prevent further crisis by not pleasing any powerful individual or group that might want to hijack the party’s hierarchy.