By Omeiza Ajayi
Concerned stakeholders of ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, have tackled the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, CECPC, over its handling of the party, saying the committee cannot lift APC from its woes.
Consequently, the stakeholders asked the committee to immediately resign, saying the committee, which was interventionist and ad-hoc in nature, had continued to act like a statutory National Working Committee, NWC.
They demanded the immediate dissolution of the CECPC should the committee members fail to heed the call for their resignation,.
According to the stakeholders, there is need to urgently convene a national convention and put in place an all-inclusive and substantive NWC.
At a news conference, yesterday, in Abuja, spokesman of the stakeholders, Ayo Oyalowo, also faulted the party leadership for barring aggrieved members from accessing the party secretariat.
“When we concluded that the practices within the party run contrary to the progressive image and credentials of the APC, we raised our voices because we do not want to go down in history as one of those whose silent complicity brought the APC to where it is headed. We spoke out with the full expectation that we could lend our support to genuine efforts aimed at effecting the corrective measures clearly needed by our party, as it was beginning to adopt practically all abnormal political practices as a norm.
“However, instead of seeing reasons with our concerns and heeding to the call for a return of the party to its core foundational principles and progressive ideologies, we are appalled that all the current party leadership did in response to our well-intentioned efforts was to declare us persona non grata and put orders in place banning us from accessing the party secretariat. Apart from the clear instructions issued to the leadership of the APC Press Corps not to allow our group the use of the press center, we are in the know of a memo issued to all departments in the party headquarters directing all department heads not to allow us entry or the use of any facility within the secretariat complex.
“These actions are indeed a further indication of the retrogression in the APC that we spoke about, for we believe that no true progressive party would deny members any right or privilege on account of expressing a contrary but valid position. We waited this long before speaking out on the sad development because we do not want to be distracted from our objectives. Our objectives remain to preserve the sanctity of this party for the benefits of all its members, high or low, young or old, male or female. Let it be known that we shall remain firm on this resolve no matter the extent of threat or intimidation we may encounter”, he stated.
The stakeholders noted that having written personal and open letters to party leaders, they were continuing with the campaign to ensure APC imbibed progressive principles and ideology as a sure way to the sustenance of the party.”
“Like we have always maintained, whatever we have done and will do in the future are aimed at restoring the values and core tenets that set APC apart as a distinct and progressive party.
“Unfortunately, it appears the Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee lacks what is required to take us there.
“While we acknowledge the wisdom behind the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the APC to institute the novel idea of the Caretaker Committee as a stop-gap solution to the problems the party was grappling with, it has become obvious to all discerning party men and women that the CECPC cannot fix the problems it met on ground. If anything, the Caretaker Committee has created even more problems for the party than it was meant to resolve.
“For a start, the Caretaker Committee which was constituted primarily to stabilize the party and organize the congresses and convention of the party went about functioning as if it was the National Working Committee, and as a result carrying out responsibilities it has no mandate for.
“Apart from embarking on a needless party membership revalidation/registration that didn’t come with anything new, the Caretaker Committee went about constituting endless committees to carry out the very responsibilities it was assigned to do. This is clearly indicative of the incompetence of the committee, and the fact it has even subsist for this long is a greater testimony to its failure. If the committee’s many ‘round-about’ activities were effective, it would have since fulfilled its mandate and give the party a new leadership.
“The Caretaker Committee has conducted what is arguably the worst ward, local government and state congresses since the formation of the party in 2013. These congresses, rather than putting the party on strong footings has created further divisions and disenchantment among its members.
“Only days ago, stakeholders of the party from Bauchi State protested at the party’s headquarter as a result of the fallout of the congresses. In the same vein, the attempt by the leadership of the party to reconcile stakeholders from Oyo State hit a brick wall right inside the party headquarters. Similar circumstances are also being witnessed in Osun and some other states simply because the processes were built on very shaky foundations and the outcome designed to favor certain selected individuals in the party.
“Another crystal clear evidence of the failure of the Caretaker Committee is the outcome of the Anambra gubernatorial election. While it is sad that the APC came a dismal third in an election it had every chance of winning, it would have been a magic if the party had performed better than it did, especially considering that the candidate of the party, Senator Andy Uba emerged through a process that was completely strange to the ideals of the APC. Little wonder that almost all the aspirants of the party in the primary election turned the other way after they had been denied the right to exercise their rights as full fledged members in a free and fair contest.
“To make matters worse, the Caretaker Committee, rather than manage the fallout of that unfortunate primary elections, busied itself pursing opposition party members to join the APC. But even with almost all the opposition party members emptying into the APC, the party still had the worst outing in the election. Indeed, only politicians living in the yesteryears still believe that the influx of opposition party members to a party is all that was needed to win elections.
“There is no gain saying the glaring reality that lies ahead if the Buni-led Caretaker Committee is allowed to hold forth at this time the APC needs to close ranks, heal and return to the order that endeared it to Nigerians.
“Incidentally, the Abdullahi Adamu-led National Reconciliation Committee that is meant to help achieve some of these tasks is yet to fully kick off. Apart from the fact that the committee is still struggling to find its feet in spite of the huge task ahead and the limited time at its disposal, it is left to be seen how much this piecemeal approach the Buni-led committee has adopted, just to be seen as doing the needful, will help to get us out of the woods.
“What is certain however is that we shall not sit and watch a party we have contributed so much in building go down the drain as a result of the selfish actions of a few.
“On the basis of the above and many others too numerous to mention, the Concerned APC Stakeholders is calling for the immediate resignation of the Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee for their glaring failures in managing the affairs of the party; failure of which the Committee should be immediately dissolved and a new committee whose task will be to immediately conduct the National Convention of the party be constituted,’’ Oyalowo stated.