…Dissolves party organs at all levels, grants Umahi, others waivers
…Buhari’s NEC meeting illegal, can’t expel me – Eta
By Clifford Ndujihe, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Omeiza Ajayi & Dirisu Yakubu
THE Nation al Executive Committee, NEC, of the All Progressives Congress, APC, yesterday, approved the extension of the tenure of the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/ Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, for another six months.
It also approved the expulsion of the party’s former National Vice Chairman, South-South, Ntufam Hilliard Eta, for his alleged failure to withdraw the court case instituted against the caretaker committee.
The APC emergency NEC also approved the dissolution of party’s organs from the smallest organ at the ward to national level. It also granted politicians, who recently defected to the party and others that would join in future waivers to contest for any position on its platform. With this, Governor Dave Umahi, who two weeks ago left the PDP for the APC, can seek for the presidential ticket of APC for the 2023 poll.
These were contained in the five resolutions unanimously reached at the NEC meeting of the party held at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday.
The resolutions, especially, the expulsion of Eta, appears to have deepened the crisis ravaging the party, with Eta describing the NEC meeting as illegal, and some concerned APC members kicking.
Eta said: “I am already in Court. The lawyers among them should have told them that they cannot make that pronouncement since I am in court. Their action is a nullity because it is not even the NEC of the party that met. Their so called acting National Secretary has no powers to convene NEC.”
In hushed tones, some APC stakeholders feared that the continuation and actions of the Buni caretaker committee could hurt APC’s electoral fortunes in future.
In his suit asking the court to sack the Buni committee, Eta argued among others that by virtue of Section 183 of the Nigerian Constitution and Article 17 (iv) of the constitution of the APC, it was an illegality and a void act for a person to hold an executive office in the government simultaneously with an office in any organ of the APC at any level, in whatever capacity.
He also argued that by virtue of same Section 183 of the Nigerian Constitution, Article 17 (i) and (iv) and 20 (i) (a) of the APC constitution, the purported removal of the duly elected officers of the party on June 25, 2020, was void and did not affect the rights of the duly elected officers of the APC to continue with the discharge of the duties for which they were elected.
Indeed, PDP Governorship Candidate for the Ondo 2020 poll, Eyitayo Jegede, is asking the tribunal to nullify Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s election because he was not validly nominated, citing the above reasons.
Why NEC expelled Eta
Governors Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Hope Uzodimma (Imo) and the Secretary of APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe briefed State House correspondents after the vitual NEC meeting that was physically attended by President Muhmmadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
The NEC also approved waivers for new and intending members of the party, which would make it possible and easy for such new members to aspire for any position in the party.
The APC NEC condemned the call by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the impeachment of President Buhari.
Briefing State House correspondents, Governor el-Rufai said: “Number one, the National Executive Committee of the party approved the extension of the tenure of the CECPC, led by His Excellency, Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, which expires on December 26, 2020, for another six months period, to terminate on 30th of June, 2021. “This is to enable the Caretaker Executive and Convention Planning Committee to conclude its assignment, as laid before NEC.
“NEC has also donated its powers, as enshrined in Articles 13.3, subsection 5 and 13.3, subsection 6 of the APC Constitution to the Caretaker and Convention Committee.
“The second resolution says that NEC has approved the granting of waivers to persons who have recently joined our party and those desirous of joining the party in the nearest future.
“By this, such new members will enjoy all the benefits and privileges acruable by virtue of their membership of the party, so they’ll be able to contest for positions in the party, they’ll be able to contest elections without any requirement for being members for a number of years or period of time.
“The third resolution is that the NEC approved the expulsion of Ntufam Hilliard Etta from the party for flouting the directive of NEC to discontinue all litigations against the party and its members.
“Number four, NEC approved the immediate dissolution of the party organs at the polling unit, ward, local government, state and zonal level, as well as the non-National Working Committee component of the National Executive Committee, as well as their immediate reconstitution and composition of the dissolved excos to serve in their respective offices in a caretaker committee capacity. This exclude the non-NWC members of NEC.
Dissolution of party organs
Throwing more light on the dissolution of party organs, the Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu said: “The NEC at its meeting approved the dissolution of party organs at the polling units, wards, local government, states and zonal levels as well as the non-NWC members.
“As clearly stated, also the composition of the dissolved Excos to serve in their respective offices in a caretaker committee capacity until we complete party registration and conduct congresses.”
Also elaborating further, el-Rufai added “which is why the Caretaker and Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee needs more time to organise this, which is expected that before the end of the expiration of the life of the extension, they would have conducted the national convention, so that we have leadership from the top down. This is in compliance with the wish of Mr. President that we should rebuild the party from the bottom up. So, this is the process.
“Registration is going to start very soon and revalidation of registration and membership. Since we undertook our last membership registration in 2015, about 25 million have reached the age of 18 and may want to join the party. “So we want to capture those and then after we complete the registration then we will have Congresses at these various levels, leading up to the national convention before the 30th of June 2021 by the grace of God.”
Earlier, in his remarks at the NEC meeting, President Buhari expressed delight at the positive results of the efforts of the13-member Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee. He noted that many who initially left the party had returned to the fold, while new members from the opposition had continued to stream into the APC.
President Buhari said what was needed was for party chiefs to display discipline and sustain the tempo.
He said: “I have received periodic briefings from the caretaker extraordinary convention planning committee, as well as other leaders of the party. I am convinced that in the last five months, since the appointment of the caretaker committee the initiatives taken have brought remarkably new atmosphere of hope in the party.’’
He acknowledged the defection of Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, to the party, saying the development confirmed that “we are indeed making progress as a party of choice for Nigerians, as we move towards the resolution of our leadership challenges.”
Don’t allow selfish individuals kill APC – Abdullahi Dauda
However, Spokesman Concerned APC Members, Abdullahi Dauda, said: “The pronouncement by our party’s NEC did not come to us as a surprise, we knew about the plot long before today. We wish to say it is the beginning of another long journey for our party. If those who have hijacked the party think they can frustrate us out of a party so many people came together to build, they should think again because we are not leaving. We, as loyal members of this great party, will continue to ask our leader, President Buhari not to allow a few selfish individuals misguide him into taking actions that will destroy this party.”
Dissolution will strengthen APC – Okechukwu
Osita Okechukwu, DG Voice of Nigeria, VON, said: “I sincerely concur with the six months extension, as this will enable Governor M.M.Buni’s Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) to not only reconcile the party, but to conduct valid biometric registration nationwide.
“This is what our national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu embarked upon in 2013, when we were newly registered. It was botched by the Peoples Democratic Party-led Federal Government. With biometric registration we will plan elections both primaries and main elections better.’’
Ogun APC backs tenure extension
The Ogun State APC, in a statement its Publicity Secretary, Tunde Oladunjoye welcomed the decision of the NEC granting tenure extension to the Buni committee and also the tenure of the present Caretaker Committee in Ogun State and Executive Committees of all other other states, who are to now function also as Caretaker Committees for the next six months.
“Don’t forget that our Committee in Ogun State has previously been ratified by the National Executive Council, therefore, the latest decision by NEC now covering the whole 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory now revalidates the position that there can be no vacuum.’’
PDP mocks APC, asks INEC to de-register ruling party
Meanwhile, the PDP, has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to de register the APC. It said the dissolution of the national, state, local government and ward committees of the APC, is an indication that the ruling party has fizzled out of the nation’s political firmament.
The party in a statement signed by its Spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the APC “being overburdened by the weight of failure, humongous corruption as well as the plagues of economic recession, violence, killings and hardship it has brought to our people, forcefully exited itself from the nation’s political firmament by dissolving all its national, zonal and state structures.”
The PDP added that as a result of the development, “December 8, 2020 has gone into the history of our nation as liberation day, especially given the spontaneous jubilation by Nigerians over this step towards political oblivion by a political party that has brought so much pain on them.
“Now that the APC has become defunct, the PDP invites the Independent National Electoral Commission to officially de-register the APC and recall its certificate of registration, given that it no longer has operational structures as required by law.”
According to the statement, “INEC should immediately declare the seat of all lawmakers elected on the platform of APC at the federal and state levels vacant and commence the process of bye-election to fill the seats, as required by law.
“Furthermore, government agencies, civil society organizations as well as the international community should immediately gazette the APC as a defunct political organization in our country.