June 22, 2020

APC factions take extreme positions

Abia APC

Giadom writes INEC, declares Edo APC Primary invalid

Says, only NEC can resolve APC Crisis

Ajimobi’s NWC swears in Boms as Giadom’s replacement

As Protesters demand sack of NWC

No division among APC Govs, says PGF DG

By Omeiza Ajayi – Abuja

The two factions in the national leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC on Monday appeared to have taken extreme positions following the inability of disputants in its National Working Committee NWC to harmonize positions and project a single leadership.

This was in spite of reported troubleshooting meetings between President Muhammadu Buhari, the Senate President as well as the Governors of the party.

The development nonetheless, Director General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum PGF, Salihu Moh. Lukman dismissed reports of a division among the governors, saying while they may differ in their individual approaches to issues, the Forum has a collective objective of resolving the crisis afflicting the party.

Lukman disclosed this in a statement issued on Monday in Abuja in his personal capacity.

This was as the National Working Committee NWC of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, inaugurated Worgu Boms as its Acting Deputy National Secretary.

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The inauguration which was conducted on Monday morning followed the declaration of vacancy by 16 of the present 20-member NWC which said Chief Victor Giadom was no longer their Deputy National Secretary having resigned to participate in the last general elections as a deputy Governorship Candidate in River State.

Meanwhile, Giadom in a letter dated June 18 and addressed to the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, declared that he has not authorized the conduct of any Governorship Primary in Edo state. The letter was “received” by the electoral umpire on June 22, the same day the APC was holding its direct primary in Edo state.

No division among Govs

Lukman in the statement titled, “Crisis Merchants and Benefactors of Leadership Conflict in APC” said a newspaper (not Vanguard) had on Sunday sensationally carried a headline ’13 governors back NWC, 7 oppose’.

According to him, the report claimed that 13 governors are backing the Abiola Ajimobi-led National Working Committee, while seven are opposed to it.

“This is false as there is nothing like the kind of sensational division being alluded to among Progressive Governors. Progressive Governors are all individually and collectively committed to the development of the party. In the context of the current challenges facing the party leadership, Progressive Governors are all working for the quick resolution of the crisis.

Although approaches and perspectives of each progressive governor may vary, they have been able to debate and reach some consensus on the problems affecting the party as contained in the resolutions of the emergency teleconference meeting of Saturday, June 13, 2020.

Part of the resolutions, which was made public include collectively working ‘to ensure strengthening fair and democratic internal party mechanism for the selection of party candidates in all elections'”.

Vested interests seeking to divide Govs

He accused some unnamed vested interests of attempting to divide the APC Governors Forum, saying such manipulations would not work.

“Somehow, vested interests who may have been furtively peddling false allegations against some Progressive Governors for the perspectives they hold about the crisis facing the party, are doing everything possible to impose their fantasies. All other perspectives outside those fantasies are being criminalized and every attempt is being made to break the ranks of Progressive Governors. This is unfortunate.

The reality is that all Progressive Governors are guided by all the resolutions adopted at the June 13, 2020 meeting. Those trying to create imaginary divisions are enemies of the party and clearly not interested in contributing in any way to bringing about an end to the crisis facing the party.

“As part of the schema of dividing the ranks of Progressive Governors, fictitious support for and against HE Sen. Abiola Ajimobi are being raised. For the avoidance of doubt, HE Sen. Ajimobi is a respected founding member of the Forum.

Any day and anytime, HE Sen. Ajimobi will enjoy the fraternal support of all Progressive Governors. However, given the current leadership challenges, it is not about support for or against sections of the NWC as is being projected. It is more about ensuring that the NWC function as a united organ of the party based on which it is able to make provisions of the APC constitution functional. It will be downgrading to attempt to project HE Sen. Ajimobi as a factional leader of the NWC.

“APC will overcome all its current leadership challenges; Progressive Governors and all APC leaders will emerge strongly united. Every party member and leader should be committed to the resolution of the crisis as well as Nigerians who are committed to democracy based on the presence of resilient party structures that meet, take decisions and govern based on those decisions as provided by the party’s constitution, which is what defines the supremacy of the party”, Lukman stated.

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As early as 9 am, the Sen. Ajimobi-led faction had begun the business of the day by swearing in Mr. Worgu Boms as the new Deputy National Secretary of the party.

Bom’s nomination had been sent to the South-South zonal chapter of the party by APC in Rivers. The zone consequently forwarded the name to the NWC.

Administering the oath of office on Mr. Boms, National Vice Chairman, South-South, Ntufam Hilliard Eta who represented Sen. Ajimobi said the new party official would carry out all functions of the Deputy National Secretary as provided for by the APC Constitution (2014 as amended).

Hours after the event, Giadom arrived at the national secretariat at about 12:22pm and departed around 2 pm.

Before he left, he told journalists that he was still in charge of the party, noting that the only way out of the current logjam is to convene a meeting of the National Executive Committee NEC.

Eta had on his part earlier explained that an NEC meeting was not possible as it would be a violation of Covid-19 Protocols which places a restriction on large gatherings. There are at least 120 members of NEC.

Addressing journalists, Giadom said no one can replace him in the NWC because he was elected at the National Convention.

He said; “That is laughable. Remember I was elected at the National Convention and we have told Nigerians that that level of impunity and rascality in this party must be corrected. You cannot smuggle somebody into the NWC without an election. Anybody who wants to be a member of the NWC should present his or herself for a democratic election. So, you cannot just bring somebody from anywhere to fill any office in the NWC. That is laughable and it cannot work”.

Invalid Primary in Edo

Giadom had in his letter to INEC said the primary election in Edo state has been postponed till further notice.

He said; “Reports reaching me is that some persons have perfected plans to conduct direct gubernatorial primaries for our great party in Edo State next week under the purported Chairmanship of His Excellency, Governor Hope Uzodinma on Monday, June 22, 2020.

“Kindly note that as the Acting Chairman of our party, I did not authorize such a Committee, neither have I inaugurated one. The earlier announced date for the Primaries, which is June 22, 2020, has been postponed.

You are therefore advised not to give any support to any such Committee or to monitor any such Primaries. A new date for the Primaries would be communicated to you soonest. We regret the inconvenience this might cause your Commission.

“A copy of this letter is being sent to the relevant law-enforcement agencies, the Chairman of Edo State APC, Mr. Anselm Ojezua for their information and necessary actions”

On whether he was not concerned about the APC losing out in Edo state, the factional acting National Chairman said; “We are very hopeful that the mistakes that have been made by the ‘former’ Chairman would be corrected and we will be on time to ensure that we do not run into such situation”.

Asked about what he would do in the next few days before his two-week tenure as ordered by the court elapses, he said; “First, I have always insisted since the beginning of this crisis that the only way to resolve these issues is to surrender this party to a higher organ which is the National Executive Committee NEC and I am still insisting that the only way to get out of where we found ourselves, the mess that this party is inside as of now is to ensure that we convoke an NEC meeting and I am sure the leadership of this party at all levels would adhere to that very soon. I have the feeling that there is no other route to restore peace and harmony in this party except through a formal NEC meeting.

That has been my decision and I am sure you would attest to it that since I came into office, I have always insisted that there has to be an NEC meeting because there is a higher organ of leadership that is above the NWC. I do not see why we should be afraid of NEC.

We have to surrender this party to that organ so that the right thing would be done. Every other decision that was taken by the NWC would be ratified by NEC. So, if we do not have an NEC meeting, it would be difficult for this party to resolve the crisis”, he added

Protesters demand sack of NWC

Scores of protesters on Monday stormed the National Secretariat of the APC, demanding the sack of the entire members of the NWC of the party.

The protesters, under the aegis of Concerned APC Members and who were led by Okpokwu Ogenyi lamented that the fortunes of the party have dwindled since the present members of the NWC came on board.

According to them, the aims and objectives of the Party are being bastardized while the legacy of President Muhammadu Buhari is being destroyed, and “his hard-earned reputation is being dragged by the incessant activities of the National Working Committee of our Party”.

Reading the text of their address, the leader of the protesters said; “This present National Working Committee has caused us to lose seven States to the opposition. APC had 24 Governors before the present National Working Committee. Today, we have 18 Governors. Just yesterday, the Deputy Governor of Ondo State left us and joined the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Are we making progress or going backward?

“Today, we have four individuals who are members of the National Working Committee parading themselves as Acting National Chairmen of our Party. What a dance of shame! We are being ridiculed on a daily basis. The same National Working Committee caused the Party not to feature candidates in Zamfara and Rivers States in the 2019 general elections.

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“In 2019, our Party, the All Progressives Congress built on integrity and anti-corruption sold its nomination forms 300 percent above all other political parties even when we cried out, they went ahead with their evil plot against concerned Party Members.

“Fellow patriotic members of the APC, just as the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is killing corruption before corruption kills Nigeria, as a Party, we must do away with the present National Working Committee before it kills the Party completely. The time is now!

“We are calling on the highest decision-making body, the National Executive Committee, NEC of our great Party, to immediately call for NEC meeting and dissolve the National Working Committee with immediate effect.

“We also call on President Muhammadu Buhari whose integrity the Party is still surviving, the National Leader of our great Party, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajablamila to support the dissolution of the present National Working Committee if we must move on as a Party”, the group stated.