By Ezeocha Nzeh
The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Executive Committee (NEC) has granted resignation waiver to its National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and other members of the National Working Committee (NWC), ahead of the partya��s national convention and elective congresses.
The waiver was also extended to other executive officers of the party at states, local government and ward levels, who will now remain in office and re-contest.
The APC constitution stipulates that any officer wishing to re-contest party position must first resign 30 days to the expiration of his or her tenure.
According to the partya��s constitution, “no person shall be eligible to contest for any party position, or be nominated by the party to be its candidate at any election, if the person is not a member of the party.
“All nominations into elective offices shall be supported by a specified number of nominators from the relevant constituencies as may be prescribed or provided for in the partya��s electoral guidelines.
“Any party officeholder interested in contesting for an elective office (whether party office or office in a general election) shall resign and leave office 30 days prior to the date of nomination or party primary for the office he or she is seeking to contest.”
Dwelling on the waiver, the constitution stipulates that subject to the approval of the NEC, the National Working Committee (NWC) may in special circumstances grant a waiver to a person not otherwise qualified under Article 31(1) of this Constitution if, in its opinion, such a waiver is in the best interest of the party.a�?
Stating the conditions for granting of waiver, the constitution further notes: “A person may be granted a waiver only on condition that he or she has not been convicted by any court of competent jurisdiction for any criminal offence.a�?
“He or she has applied for waiver in writing to the NWC of the party through his/her appropriate ward, local government area/area council, state, Federal Capital Territory and Zonal Committee. He or she has signed an undertaking to uphold and implement the manifesto of the Party in the event of winning the election.”
Confirming the position of NEC on the resignation waiver granted the national and state officers, the Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, said that the decision was to accommodate every aggrieved member of the party.
“After wider consultations, we arrived at the term where we considered not only the legal point, but also the political options as available she came to the conclusion that if we are going to induct that election within a very short period then the concern shown by other members on the issue of disenfranchisement and allowing other people to contest was very genuine.
“We arrived at the point that it is constitutionally valid to conduct congresses, but if in conducting the congresses certain available provisions of the constitution were not going to be fulfilled, it means that some people will be disenfranchised.
“We spoke about 21-day notice and requirements of Article 31 and came to the conclusion that if these provisions are taken care of, then there was no need for anybody to say we cannot conduct congresses within the available space that we have.
“Everybody was carried along and everybody’s interest was considered in this report. It was a unanimous bite and adoption of the recommendation. Since the tenure if some ward chairmen has expired, the NEC has accepted that the provision of the constitution that people must resign 30 days before re-contesting, should be waived. So, they don’t need to resign their positions before they re-contest their position,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Odigie-Oyegun, has pleaded with the party faithful to eschew bitterness and personal interest, stressing that “the sacrifices require shunning personal ambition and selfish interest.
We are looking for ways to minimise rancour in the party ahead of the next general elections, and we are looking for ways to save the party from potential legal booby traps. These are both valid considerations. The challenge that we have faced has been how to reconcile the two in the best interest of the party.
“On a personal note, I have had to endure virulent media attacks, malicious insinuations and outright character assassination. However, the responsibility imposed on me by my position as the national chairman of the party, demands that I rise above my personal pains and refuse to yield to the temptation to react in a manner that potentially complicates the situation for our party,a�? he said.
By Ezeocha Nzeh