Says, party’s Constitution gathering dusts at INEC HQ
Wants NBA to delist APC Legal Advisers
By Omeiza Ajayi – Abuja
Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum PGF, Salihu Moh. Lukman has called on stakeholders of the party to support the move to convene a meeting of the National Executive Committee NEC of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC on Thursday.
In a statement issued Wednesday in Abuja and titled, “APC at Crossroads – Are there going to be Leaders or Blacklegs?”, Lukman lamented that the party leadership has so trampled on the rule of law that the APC Constitution is now lying at a corner and gathering dust at the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC.
He consequently queried the professional competence of the legal advisers of the party, wondering why the Nigeria Bar Association NBA should continue to enlist them.
The head of the APC Governors’ think-tank also threw a subtle jibe at a national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, accusing him of using his media empire to destroy the party.
Lukman faulted a provision of the party’s constitution which makes it difficult for a Deputy National Chairman to assume the leadership of the party in the absence of a National Chairman who is not from his zone.
Support for NEC
Factional acting National Chairman of the party, Chief Victor Giadom was on Wednesday reported having fixed an NEC meeting for the following day at the Presidential Villa.
Giadom’s membership of the party is however now shaky, following his reported suspension by the Rivers State chapter of the party, a decision that has been endorsed via a court order.
Lukman in his statement, however, noted that; “The days ahead will confirm whether we have party leaders or blacklegs. All committed party members and leaders should rally behind President Buhari in support of the scheduled NEC to hold so that we are able to reset the APC back to its 2013 orientation of inclusive and participatory politics. To achieve that, the public debate should be about proposals to ensure that the NEC succeeds rather than attempting to throw up legal blockades!”
Constitution gathering dusts
“Getting out of the situation becomes a nightmare. While the party’s constitution continues to gather dust somewhere in the archive of the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, our courts and judges continue to entertain themselves with cases requiring all manner of judicial pronouncements”.
Incompetent legal advisers
“All manner of so-called legal experts emerged on the public scene to interpret both our constitution and court pronouncements. Yet, there are some demented officials called ‘Legal Advisers’ who are operating as senior officers of the party at all levels. Why is no one questioning the qualifications of these officials? Given their incompetence, which is appearing to endanger our democracy by substituting rule of law with the rule of men (and very few women), why should the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) continue to enlist them in the Bar? That is assuming they are lawyers as there are rumours that some elected ‘Legal Advisers’ are not lawyers, just like there are rumours that some ‘Women Leaders’ are men”.
Position of Deputy National Chairman
Section 14(2) of the APC Constitution (2014 as amended) stipulates the duties of a Deputy National Chairman of the party among which is to assist the National Chairman in the discharge of his duties.
In Section 14(2)(iii), the constitution states that “the Deputy National Chairman shall act as the National Chairman in the absence of the National Chairman from his zone”.
Lukman questioned why a deputy National Chairman from another zone different from that of the Chairman cannot assume the reins of leadership in the event that the deputy from the same zone as the National Chairman is indisposed.
He said; “Today, even something as basic as who is the presiding officer of the APC is in courts to the extent that we lost count of the number of cases involving more litigants, far more than the number of party members that aspired for the position at our last National Convention.
To demonstrate the irony of the kind of leaderless situation we found ourselves or we impose on ourselves, we are being told that our constitution disqualifies a Deputy National Chairman from acting as National Chairman with reference to the section of the country he comes from.
Yet, we call ourselves progressives. No need to look for anybody who is a reactionary with some of the progressive leaders we have in APC. Our leaders have degenerated to pseudo-ethnic champions. Are we heading for a merger with Arewa, Afenifere, Biafra, and all the known ethnic groups?”
Since the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole was suspended, the National Working Committee NWC had invoked the constitutional provision to get the Deputy National Chairman, South, Sen. Abiola Ajimobi to act in his stead. Ajimobi’s however currently indisposed, forcing the NEC to ask the National Vice Chairman, South-South, Hilliard Eta to act on his behalf even while there is a substantive Deputy National Chairman, North as well as a National Secretary, both higher in the hierarchy than Eta.
Jibe at APC “leader”
The PGF DG who refrained from mentioning names, however, berated a national leader of the party for using his newspaper and television station to fight his political cause.
He said; “These are critical questions now that with the approval of President Buhari, a meeting of National Executive Committee NEC has been called. Would these so-called leaders acting as blacklegs seek to undermine the moral authority of the President as the leader of the party?
Already, a Newspaper owned by one of the leaders of the party has dismissed a meeting held by the President with the Governors of the party as ‘Anti-Oshiomhole governors submit a position to Buhari’. Is this headline a reflection of the position of the leader?
Is the message underlining this headline going to serve as the basis of opposition against the initiative by the President to ensure that a NEC meeting holds? With the way the President’s name is presented using just his first name, isn’t that already indicative of some measure of rebellion?
“With the NEC meeting scheduled to hold in less than 48 hours, if it is reflective of rebellion, both the Newspaper, the television station owned by the leader, and all his support base may be activated to attempt to block NEC meeting, including boycotting the NEC.
How could such a strategy help the leader? Without any debate, this is one leader that certainly enjoys a high measure of respect across the party and is perhaps a leading contender to succeed President Buhari.
If such a leader, works for or tolerated his media companies and supporters to inadvertently work for the demise of the party, how does that serve him? Could it be that he has decided to work against any possibility of succeeding President Buhari?
“If potential leaders prefer to impose themselves through suppressing internal party contests, will they not end up snatching ballot boxes and rigging elections? How can someone who is intolerant to opposition campaign for votes? Any wonder why almost every decision of our party is being challenged in courts?”, He queried.