In what seems like a last minute attempt to resist moves to edge out the embattled National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Adams Oshiomhole, a Faction of the party’s National Working Committee, NWC, has called on members of the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party, to shun the Committee’s meeting slated for Tuesday, March 17.
This is just as indications emerged that some APC Governors under the umbrella of the Progressive Governors Forum, PGF, may have perfected plans to pick Oshiomhole’s replacement at the Tuesday NEC meeting.
Recall, that the Deputy National Secretary of the APC, Chief Victor Geidom, had on Friday, announced a meeting of the party’s NEC, slated for Tuesday, March 17.
However, in a statement signed by the APC National Legal Adviser, Babatunde Ogala; National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu; and Acting National Secretary, Waziri Bulama; the Oshiomhole-led NWC members said that Geidom has no powers to convene a NEC meeting of the party Leaders.
Quoting Article 25 (B) (i) and (ii) of the party’s constitution, they contended that the required number of the NWC did not meet to call for the meeting, and as such, should be disregarded by the NEC members.
The statement noted: “The attention of the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has been drawn to a purported invitation to an Emergency National Executive Committee meeting of our great party, slated for Tuesday, 17th March, 2020, which invitation is credited to Hon. (Chief) Victor Geidom, the Deputy National Secretary of the party.
“The party’s constitution provides that a National Executive Committee meeting shall be convoked as follows: Article 25 (B) (i) and (ii) – The National Executive Committee shall meet every quarter, and or at any time decided by the National Chairman, or at the request made in writing by at least two-third of the members of the National Executive Committee, provided that not less that fourteen (14) days notice is given for the meeting to be summoned.
“Without prejudice to Article 25 (B) (i) of this constitution, the National Working Committee may summon an Emergency National Executive Committee meeting at any time, provided that at least seven (7) days notice of the meeting shall be given to all those entitled to attend.
“Neither the National Chairman nor the resolution of two thirds of members of the National Executive Committee, has directed nor made any request to summon a National Executive Committee meeting of the party.
“The said Victor Geidom is not vested with any Constitutional Powers to convene any meeting of the National Executive Committee, neither has he been so directed by the National Chairman.
“The National Working Committee therefore, disassociates itself from the said illegal and unauthorised Notice of Meeting of the National Executive Committee.
“Members of the National Executive Committee and the totality of the members of our great party, are therefore, requested to ignore the said Notice and/or Invitation as a product of mischief that should not be given any probative value.”
Meanwhile, in a statement made available to Journalists, in Abuja, the Director-General of the Progressive Governors Forum, PGF, Salihu Moh Lukman, the APC Governors expressed their backing for the emergency NEC meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, March 17.
The Governor disclosed that apart from the issue of appointing an Acting National Chairman at the forthcoming NEC meeting, the resolution of cases of so-called suspension of members of the National Working Committee, NWC, will also be addressed.
According to them, the NWC is not an Executive Committee, and therefore does not qualify to exercise the powers of taking most of the decisions it has taken, with respect to disciplinary conduct of Leaders.
Accordingly, they demanded that the forthcoming NEC meeting should activate Article 21 of the party’s constitution, with appointment of respective fact-finding Committees for cases of suspension placed on some persons by the Oshiomhole-led NWC.
Setting an agenda for the party to end the current crisis bedeviling it, the APC Governors Forum DG said that the NEC would need to recall all the so-called suspensions and decisively treat them in line with provisions of relevant sections of the APC constitution.
He added that it is important that the NEC takes steps to ensure that the party is able to shift politics to a rule-based conduct, and not impulsive and opinionated driven by the ego of the NWC Leaders.
Lukman recommended that all disciplinary decisions initiated and executed by the NWC as was the case with Senator Shuaibu and the three Governors, should be declared a nullity.
The statement read in part: “With the emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the APC scheduled to hold Tuesday, March 17, 2019, apart from the issue of appointing an Acting National Chairman, the resolution of cases of so-called suspension of members of the National Working Committee (NWC), would have to be addressed.
“This is very important, given that part of what the emergency NEC meeting would be required to achieve is to lay a solid foundation for the resolution of all the major leadership problems facing the party. That will mean that the NEC will have to review all cases affecting all Leaders of the party, especially members of the NWC, and as much as possible, ensure they are settled.
“This is also necessary, because after the meeting, it will be the NWC that will be saddled with the responsibility of providing Leadership to resolve all other leadership problems. Therefore, charity must begin at home, or as they say in law, he who comes to equity must come with clean hands.”
On the disciplinary actions the Governors want the NEC to reverse, Lukeman said: “Specifically, the question then would be: what are these cases of so-called suspension of members of the NWC? There are three – Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman, Sen. Lawal Shuaibu, Deputy National Chairman (North), and Alh. Inuwa Abdulkadir, National Vice Chairman (North West). I will take the case of Comrade Oshiomhole last.
“However, the cases of Sen. Shuaibu and Alh. Abdulkadir have different dimensions. Alh. Abdulkadir was alleged to have been suspended by his Magajin Gari. “A” Ward, Sokoto North Local Government of Sokoto. Alh. Abdulkadir was alleged to have carried out some anti-party activities during the 2019 Governorship election in Sokoto State. His Ward Executive raised the charges against Alh. Abdulkadir, and decided on his suspension, which the NWC endorsed.
“In the case of Sen. Shuaibu, it will be recalled, that in May 2019, he (Sen. Shuaibu) wrote a letter to Comrade Oshiomhole, asking him to resign due to alleged incompetence. The NWC was then reported to have set a five-man Disciplinary Committee led by Otunba Niyi Adebayo, then Deputy National Chairman (South) to investigate allegations against Sen. Shuaibu. The NWC was said to have suspended Sen. Shuaibu on the purported recommendation of Otunba Adebayo Disciplinary Committee.
“Does the NWC have the power under the APC constitution to suspend any of its serving officers such as Sen. Shuaibu, who is the Deputy National Chairman (North)? Without going into the details of the allegations against either Sen. Shuaibu or Alh. Abdulkadir, what is the procedure for discipline as provided in the APC constitution? Following reports of the decision of the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC to suspend His Excellency Rotimi Akeredolu SAN, Governor of Ondo State, on April 21, 2019, I sent a Memo to Comrade Oshiomhole, partly with the objective of raising concerns about the need to urgently take necessary steps to ensure compliance with provisions of the APC constitution, on matters of disciplinary actions against all erring party Leaders, including Governors, and all other elected representatives.
“In that April 21, 2019, memo, I drew Comrade Oshiomhole’s attention to the fact that before the 2019 elections, two serving Governors of our party, APC, – HE Rochas Okorocha and HE Ibikunle Amosun – were reportedly suspended by National Working Committee (NWC) for fielding Candidates in other parties against the Candidates of the APC. The so-called suspension of HE Rotimi Akeredolu SAN makes it the third case of a serving Governor suspended by the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC, for some alleged anti-party activities.
“While recognising that there may have been reasons to consider necessary disciplinary actions arising from all the problems around the 2019 elections, Article 21 of the constitution of our party, which makes provision for Discipline of Party Members, gives the power to the “respective Executive Committee of the Party at all levels”. Nowhere in the constitution, the NWC was given such power.
“Secondly, Article 21 (B) (i) specifically stipulated that “A complaint by any Member of the party against a public office holder, elected or appointed, or another member or against a party organ or officer of the party shall be submitted to the Executive Committee of that party at all levels concerned which shall NOT LATER THAN 7 days of the receipt of the complaint, appoint a fact-finding or Disciplinary Committee to examine the matter”.
“Article 21 (B) (ii) went further to provide that “The Executive Committee concerned shall not debate or discuss the complaint or allegation before sending it to the Disciplinary Committee or fact-finding Committee which shall hear, determine and cause its decision to be transmitted to the relevant Executive Committees of the Party concerned”.
“The implication of these provisions is that any complain against both Sen. Shuaibu, Alh. Abdulkadir and our three Governors allegedly suspended by the party should have been submitted to the National Executive Committee (NEC) based on which the NEC would have been required to setup a fact-finding or Disciplinary Committee to handle the matter.
“Even the case of Alh. Abdulkadir, although the initiating organ, his ward, was right to have initiated it, but once the report was sent to the NWC, the power of the NWC is limited to getting the NEC to set up the fact-finding Committee, which will hear, determine and decide on the matter.
“It would appear that the NWC received the complaint against Alh. Abdulkadir and the three Governors, or is the complainant, and proceeded to either act as the fact-finding or disciplinary committee or appointed one, which should have been the responsibility of NEC.
“In the case of Sen. Shuaibu, the NWC is the direct complainant and usurped all the powers of every other organ of the party that has jurisdiction on disciplinary decision affecting Sen. Shuaibu. This means that the NWC was the complainant as well as the judge without recourse to NEC as provided in the constitution of the party.”
Lukman further noted that all the cases of suspension and the speed with which the Oshiomhole-led NWC acted on them, further demonstrate the intolerant disposition of the APC NWC under his watch.
“Unfortunately, it also exhibited a disturbing reality about the inability of members of the NWC to cross-check provisions of the APC constitution before arriving at their decision. Such conducts are only the credentials of tyrants and despots and not political party leaders under a constitutional democracy”, he added.
On what makes the case of Comrade Oshiomhole different, Lukman said: “To worsen the matter, Comrade Oshiomhole, himself kept making the argument that he is not an officer of his ward Alh. Abdulkadir an officer of his ward? Comrade Oshiomhole argued that he was elected by over 7,000 delegates at a National Convention as such only the National Convention can remove him. Who elected Alh. Abdulkadir? Was it his ward?
“Under no circumstance should we allow double standards in the application of disciplinary proceedings. Therefore, just like in the case of Alh. Abdulkadir, the NEC need to also recall the decision of Ward 10, Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State regarding the suspension of Comrade Oshiomhole and proceed to appoint a fact-finding committee in line with provisions of Article 21 (B) (ii) of the APC constitution.”