By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA – In what appeared a subtle threat to some of its aggrieved governors and their proxies, the ruling All Progressives Congress APC has threatened to activate constitutional provisions regarding the several court actions instituted against it as a result of the outcome of its recent nationwide congresses.
Vanguard learned the decision was taken at Monday’s meeting of the National Working Committee NWC of the party.
Confirming the development in a statement, Monday night, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu said the NWC “frowned at the actions of some Party members who have resorted to litigation as a way of addressing their perceived grievances and disputation without exhausting the party’s dispute resolution mechanism”.
Article 21(D)(v) states; “Any member who files an action in court of law against the party or any of its officers on any matter or matters relating to the discharge of the duties of the party without first exhausting the avenues for redress provided for in this constitution shall automatically stand expelled from the party on filing such action and no appeal against expulsion as stipulated in this clause shall be entertained until the withdrawal of the action from the court by the member”.
In Imo state, a son in law to the governor, Uche Nwosu had instituted a court cade against the party as part of measures to retrieve what he described as his “stolen” governorship candidacy.
In Zamfara and a handful of other states, high-profile members of the party had also instituted several court cases against the party.
The party has now warned against the growing trend which it described as “manifest indiscipline”.
“The actions, it should be noted, is considered as anti-party as it goes against our Party’s constitution.
For emphasis, according to Article 20, Subsection 10 of our Party’s Constitution, offences against the Party include the following: ‘Filing an action in a Court of Law against the Party or any of its Officers on any matters relating to the discharge of the duties of the Party without first exhausting all avenues for redress provided for in this Constitution.’
“The Party intends to activate constitutional provisions to penalise such members as their action is capable of undermining the party and hurt the Party’s interest.
“We hereby strongly advise such members to withdraw all court cases, while approaching the appropriate party organs with a view to resolving any outstanding disputes. In addition to this, aggrieved members are urged to take full advantage of the reconciliation committees the party has just put in place.
“APC members should understand that as a progressive party that operates on the principle of change, it is not a matter of choice to keep to the rules.
“We therefore advise such members to take this warning very seriously as failure to comply with the party’s dispute resolution procedures would be met with the stipulated disciplinary actions”, the party warned.
The NWC has also set up reconciliation committees to interface with all aggrieved elements in the party.
The committees were set up on geopolitical basis with seven members each, including governors elected on the platform of the party. Three aggrieved governors, Rochas Okorocha of Imo, Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun and Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara were however excluded from the committees.
The mandate of the committees is simply to reconcile aggrieved parties and not to recommend the alteration of the candidates’ lists.
Briefing journalists at the end of the meeting, National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole took a swipe at the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, Atiku Abubakar for promising three million jobs per year, querying why he did not do that when he was part of the presidency.
“If you say you are going to create ten million jobs you have to tell us why when you were in government, you could not do that. By the time that government was out, we had lost Michelin, Dunlop closed down, the entire textile industry closed down. We were witnesses to the unprecedented levels of industrial obituaries. Factories were closing one after the other just at the time the then PDP government promised to create more jobs. These are issues we really want to engage. It will be every interesting to play back what people are saying”, he said.
On Senate President Bukola Saraki, he said; “For me even more outstanding is the humiliating defeat Saraki suffered in the hands of Kwara people who are determined to dismantle the saraki failed attempt to install his own variance of a political culture of which he is the only constant decimal. I think the good people of kwara state have dealt him a big blow as the proclaim leader of the opposition PDP and he has had to lead the campaigns to so many other places. Now here is a native doctor who was busy going to other states now unable to heal his own people. That defeat in kwara state as far as we are concerned particularly by person he did not put in place to stand election means a lot to us.
We are not going to accept a Nigerian variant where a minority party preside over the affairs of the national assembly whether as dictated by Bukola Saraki as as represented by Yakubu Dogara in the House of Representatives of the PDP because it is not right.
In his own case what the people of Kwara have done to him is that they are going to politically bury him come February next year and he has seen the first warning .I am sure Saraki would be politically retired by the good people of Kwara that he has mismanaged their economic and political rights over the years. So I am very excited about that and we think that this is something worth celebrating and we took time to celebrate it today.