Édo guber primary: APC has no updated membership register, says former NWC member

…Warns party facing imminent collapse

…Begs Buhari, Tinubu to save party, Oshiomhole’s hand

By Ezeocha Nzeh

As the National Working Committee (NWC) of ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) insists on using the direct primary method to elect its flag bearer for the September 19 governorship election in Edo state, former Deputy National Auditor under the Bisi Akande led Interim Management Committee, Captain Muhammad Bala Jibrin, has warned that the party must not ridicule itself by adopting a ,method that could expose its inadequacies at the court, noting that APC has no updated membership register for any direct primary election

Captain, Bala who regretted that the party is currently heading for an imminent collapse if its leaders fail intervene from what he described as the national Chairman, Adams Oshiomholes destructive plots maintained that the only time the APC conducted a membership drive was in 2017, adding that the party has not updated its membership register since the last exercise

Captain Bala was also National Auditor of the defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC), and APC governorship aspirant in Bauchi State in 2019 regretted that the leaders of the party, President Muhammadu Buhari and Bola Ahmed Tinubu has kept deaf to all the destructive moves by the current national chairman to put the APC in extinction, noting that the APC NWC has reduced the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) to the background by taking over its duties

The APC chieftain in a statement he issued on Sunday, noted, “We have followed President’s Buhari political career since 2003, and the biggest he confronted and fought was impunity, manipulation of elections and rigging and injustice. President Buhari himself was a victim of all these. Now, here we are, Adams Oshiomhole, the National Chairman of his Party is engaged in not only abuse of office but is trampling on the APC Constitution simply to perpetuate impunity and injustice just because he holds the office of National Chairman.

“We provide some instances. The APC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) not the National Working Committee (NWC) has the final say on the mode of the primary election. Article 20 (IV) – Procedure for Nomination of Candidates (E) states: “Without prejudice to Article 20(u) and (iii) of this Constitution, the National Working Committee shall subject to the approval of the National Executive Committee make Rules and Regulations for the nomination of candidates through primary elections”.

“This shows that the powers to determine the mode/type of election to be used for the nomination of candidates rests with NEC and not NWC, or at least MUST get the approval of NEC. So, the truth is that Edo State APC chapter was correct to say that only the NEC has the final say on the matter and not the NWC.

“We would recall that on August 29, 2018, the APC’s NEC delegated this function to NWC and the State Chapters of the Party only for the purpose of Osun and Ekiti primary elections and not in perpetuity. Its resolution on this was: “That the State Executive Committee (SEC) shall in consultation with critical Stakeholders in each state identify and agree among themselves the mode of the primary election to be applied in their state”. Therefore, when we take the constitutional provision, and the decision of NEC together, it is evident that the NWC has no power whatsoever on these matters until they go back to NEC. However, both were flagrantly disregarded and disobeyed by the National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.

He noted that “In his bid to continue with illegalities and acts of impunity, which he perpetrated on a large scale during the November 2018 APC primary elections, the National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, without conscience and sense of fairness and justice wrote a letter to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the APC had decided to adopt Direct Primary for the Edo State APC Governorship. He did this three day ahead of the meeting of NWC that was supposed to decide on the matter. Under normal circumstance, this immoral action is enough to remove him from office because it is not just an infraction but a desecration of anything just and fair. The NWC members are also culpable on that.

“It is important to note that the APC Constitution did not define or explain the meaning of a direct primary election. Article 20 ii(a) stated that direct primary would be used in the nomination of councillorship election.

The provision, noted, stated: “Nomination of Candidates for Councillorship shall be by a direct primary election conducted at the Ward level. For the purpose of this primary election, Party members in every Ward shall vote by open-secret ballot for the candidates of their choice where there is no consensus, provided that where a candidate has emerged by consensus for an elective position, a vote of “yes” or “no” should be called to ensure that it was not an imposition which could breed discontent and crisis.

“Only fully registered and financially up-to- date members of the Party shall have the right to vote and be voted for into any of the elective positions, subject to the provisions made for such elections pursuant to this Constitution or other Laws or Regulations. Consequently, non-financial members shall not enjoy the above rights.” How do you verify, under this situation, who is a financial member or not?

“Given this clear provision, only the NEC can decide on who is a fully registered and financially up-to-date member of the Party that is qualified to vote or be voted for, including the mode of the election of candidates during the primary election. Therefore, it is only proper for the National Working Committee (NWC) and Adams Oshiomhole to subject themselves to the NEC, as the only constitutional body that has the final say on the issue. This means that to ensure checks and balances and roll back the creeping improprieties and lawlessness of the National Chairman, NEC should summon an emergency meeting and thrash out the issues once and for all.

“Second, to conduct a direct primary, the most elementary requirement is an authentic register of party members. Article 9.4 (i) states that: “…the party shall update its membership records every six months and remit updated copies to appropriate Secretariats…”As we speak, the National Secretariat of the APC has no up to date Register of members. The last time the register was updated was in 2017, and since then much water has passed under the bridge with the defection of some APC leaders, like Atiku, Kwankwaso, Saraki, Yakubu Dogara, etc. to PDP, and the decamping of some PDP leaders to APC. As the lawyers say, you can’t build something on nothing.

While the absence of up-to-date official Register of Members is a clear dereliction of duty on the part of the NWC, the insistence of adopting a direct primary without a Register of members smacks of sinister motive to cause confusion and violence and manipulate the process to serve the whims and caprices of Adams Oshiomhole.”

“Unless Adams Oshiomhole has an agenda to weaken APC and lowers its esteem before millions of Nigerians, it is inexplicable that he remains at the centre of all the party’s crisis that has engulfed the state chapters of the Party since November 2018. From Zamfara to Ogun, from Imo to Rivers, from Bauchi, Adamawa to now Edo, you can see his hands and his self-centred tendencies visibly.

“Rather than become a unifying factor, Adams Oshiomhole has become the most divisive party chairman in the history of party politics in Nigeria. Because of the flagrant violation of the Party’s Constitution by Adams Oshiomhole, the APC has now become a shadow of its former self. Its 2013-2018 format, in which party members feel at home and have a say in the affairs of the Party is no more.

“The APC is at risk of losing its core if it has not lost it already because of Adams Oshiomhole’s ways, the APC is now at the crossroads. If the APC is to survive and institutionalize itself, as President Buhari envisioned during the last NEC meeting, party leaders must wake up. We cannot continue to allow an Adams Oshiomhole to taint a worthy legacy of anti-corruption, good governance and infrastructural development put in place by our beloved President Muhammdu Buhari. President Muhammadu Buhari, the National leader Bola Ahmed Tinubu and all other well-meaning leaders of APC must come out and condemn these acts of impunity by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and save the party from imminent collapse. ” he pleaded

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