*Alleges lack of transparency in Edo, Ondo guber activities
*Warns party members are weighing their options
By Ezeocha Nzeh
Tuesday’s inauguration of Waziri Bulama as the All Progressives Congress (APC) Acting National Secretary by the party’s national Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole may have awaken the already sleeping dog in the lingering crisis rocking the ruling party.
Oshiomhole, who inaugurated Bulama in the presence of few members of the party’s National Working Committee, amidst open protest from the National Vice Chairman North East, Salihu Mustapha indicated however that the defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) member would be working on acting bases, pending the conduct of a mini congress by his North East zone to elect a substantive National Secretary.
Viewed as a one man decision by the National Chairman against the provisions of the APC constitution, the party’s Deputy National Chairman, North, Senator Lawan Shuaibu has described the APC under Oshiomhole’s leadership as a Nest of Lawlessness.
Shuaibu, whose suspension by Oshiomhole’s NWC following his continued criticism of his leadership, was only lifted after the last peace and fence mending meeting at the party’s last NWC meeting which took place immediately after the Appeal Court brought back succour to the embattled National Chairman. Also suspended at the meeting was the suspension of the APC National Vice Chairman, North West, Inuwa Abdulkadir.
The returning Shuiabu in a statement he issued Wednesday in Abuja, regretted that the APC leadership has drastically moved away from its founding principle of constitutionalism and rule of law, stressing that the ruling party, which ought to be the model for others in upholding the rule of law is now subject to arbitrary administration without regard for the dictates of the law
“When I wrote Comrade Adams Oshiomhole on the 28th May 2019 warning him of the dangerous direction the Party was heading, and the probable and compelling need for him to excuse himself from the office of the chairman, little did I know that the innocent suggestion would not only be treated with levity and disdain, but that it will incur his wrath.
“Interestingly, all the issues I raised in my said letter have come to pass. Till date, the Party, founded on the principles of constitutionalism and rule of law, is now subject of arbitrary administration, without regard for the dictates of the law. The ruling party which ought to be a model for others in the upholding of the rule of law, is now the nest of lawlessness.
“The entire legal framework governing the party administration in Nigeria today, the Nigerian Constitution, the Party constitution, the Electoral Act and INEC regulations and guidelines are more honoured by the party in breaches than obedience.”
The Deputy National Chairman went further to stress that “By (Article 9.1(ii) and 9.4 (i) of APC Constitution as amended, pages 6 and 8) every member will be registered at his ward when his or her name is entered in the register by the Ward Executives. What this means is that every member of the Party is answerable to his constituency. Being a Party member therefore is a constitutional issue embedded in the membership register.
“Also, the Constitution of the Party stipulates a mandatory meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) every three months (Article 25 B (i) of APC constitution as amended.). This regular meeting is not only targeted at keeping the members abreast of developments, but ensuring collective responsibility of decision taken. By the combined effect of the above provision and Article 18 of the APC Constitution as amended), NEC is the main decision making organ after the convention, and shall meet every three months. The power to set up standing or ad-hoc committees of the Party is vested in the same NEC.
“It will be recalled that part of my agitation in the period running from 2018 to 2019, was the need and request that both the screening and the selection committees (Selection Committee being committee for primaries) be set up by the party. Rather than acceding to this imperative request, the Chairman chose to personally constitute both the screening committees for the Governorship and Senatorial elections, as well as the final appeals committee, all in violation of the extant constitutional provisions of our party vesting the power in NEC.
“To worsen the situation, and in violation of rule of natural justice, he made himself the Chairman of both Committees. It is this refusal to convene NEC to perform its role that has led the party to the comatose state it is now. My fear is, it is being repeated now for Ondo and Edo.”
According to Shuaibu, the APC Constitution in Article 20 (a) made it unambiguously clear, that all party posts prescribed or implied by this constitution shall be filled by democratically conducted elections at the respective convention (in the case of NWC or NEC) or congress (in the case of Executive Committees at State, Local Government or ward levels) et tal, noting that there is nowhere in that same constitution where it was envisaged that an officer of the party could be appointed by the Chairman nor the NWC.
The aggrieved Deputy National Chairman went further to state that “not even NEC has the power to appoint any National Officer of the party in any capacity. What is difficult in organizing a mid-term convention to elect the officers in line with the constitution so that even the officers will have confidence that they are elected like all other officers.?
“The constitution of the Party in Article 25 (A) (1) page 89 stipulates that there shall be a convention every two years. We had convention in 2018 and another one is due in 2020. What is the hurry in appointing an Acting National Secretary when we have the duly elected Deputy National Secretary who has been acting in that capacity since December 2018 in line with Article 14.4 of the Constitution on page 58?
“The self-imposed National Publicity Secretary, in a press statement stated that the National Working Committee had appointed an Acting National Secretary. How do you appoint? Are we still running a party with rules and regulations? This is now the pattern in the Party. Let me state unequivocally that any nomination signed by such acting National Secretary is a nullity and liable to be challenged by the opposition. Are we deaf and blind? Or is the Chairman finally out to inter the Party?” He queried.
Describing what is currently going on in the party as a period of anarchy, Senator Shuaibu pleaded with the APC leaders to come quickly and save the party from an imminent collapse.
“What are the leaders of the party doing in the midst of this anarchy? Are they all equally fed up with the seeming collapsing party in the hands of a politically injured person that seems to be nursing political revenge? The leaders need to take a stand so that the followers know whether the party is now either a jungle or that entity of our collective dream at the inception.”
He warned that majority of the members of the party are already perplexed, disillusioned, adding that some are even weighing their options.
“In the light of the above, I call on leaders of APC to urgently intervene to ensure the provisions of the party constitution are adhered to and not further compromised. Let me state categorically that I have no political ambition beyond where I find myself and my interest, if I may state, is borne out of genuine intention to save the Party I laboured to build.
“With regards to Ondo and Edo primary elections, there is already absence of transparency. The regulations issued that will guide the processes are already in violation of Article 20 (v) on page 76 of the APC constitution as amended where only the National Executive Committee is the only organ that shall approve such guidelines and regulations which includes the mode of nominating our candidates. I am crying for APC inside me!”