*President to join 127 NEC members in meeting today
*Legacy party leaders, PGF-DG, others support meeting
*Ajimobi backs out, says meeting illegal
By Ezeocha Nzeh and Chesa Chesa
The Victor Giadom-led faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday received the blessings and backing of President Muhammadu Buhari, as he approved the National Executive Council (NEC), meeting convened by the acting National Chairman, Mr Giadom following a court order in his favour.
The position of President Buhari to personally be at the meeting was contained in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu on Wednesday.
But the faction of the party led by Sen. Abiola Ajimobi said they would not attend the meeting as the President was offered wrong advice or blackmailed into lending his weighty office to the illegality.
In a statement by Hilliard Eta, acting chaiman of the faction and Hilliard Eta, secretary, they urged the President to “avail himself with facts of the matter regarding the impasse presently experienced by the party so as to guide him in his assessment of the matter because we are sure that the President if properly advised, would come to the conclusion that the meeting convened by Chief Victor Giadom bothers on illegality and criminality”.
They stayed that “the NWC regrets to turn down the invitation to the illegal and unconstitutional National Executive Committee (NEC) convened by Chief Victor Giadom.
“We believe that attending such a meeting will amount to embracing illegalities and turning a blind eye to the infractions on the constitution of our great party”.
However in convening the meeting, Shehu stated: “The President has received very convincing advice on the position of the law as far as the situation in the party is concerned and has determined that the law is on the side of Victor Giadom as Acting National Chairman.
“Because he will always act in accordance with the law, the President will be attending the virtual meeting Giadom called for tomorrow afternoon. We urge the media to stop promoting manufactured controversies and to not give any further room for mischievous interpretations of the law on this matter.
“In addition to the President, the Giadom meeting will, hopefully, be attended by our governors and the leaders of the National Assembly”.
The virtual meeting, which is expected to be monitored from the Presidential Villa, would see Giadom and his group at the villa where the meeting is to be coordinated.
The AUTHORITY on Wednesday gathered that majority of the 128 member of the party’s NEC have received their links to participate at the virtual meeting.
Even with resistance from the Sen. Abiola Ajimobi-led faction, through its acting National Chairman, Hillard Eta, the NEC meeting is expected to tackle all the issues that had dragged the ruling party to a consuming leadership.
Hillard who had denied knowledge of the meeting had told the press on Tuesday that Giadom has no constitutional powers to convene a NEC meeting.
He maintained that the Rivers State-born politician had been sacked by the party, adding that Rivers-APC have equally replaced him from his earlier office as the Deputy National Secretary.
The NEC meeting which will be the APC’s first in 2020, will also be the first NEC meeting without its embattled National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, who is currently in suspension.
There were fears that the NEC meeting may resolve to sack the entire the National Working Committee of the party, as several stakeholders and leaders of the APC had endorsed such.
They accused the NWC of violating the party’s constitution, stressing that it has brought more shame than fame for the ruling party.
*Non-NEC members meet
Similarly, the AUTHORITY learnt that several non-NWC members of the NEC met at the Barcelona Hotel in Abuja, yesterday and have resolved to present their position on the way forward at today’s virtual meeting.
*Legacy party members, PGF-DG drum support for NEC
Meanwhile, the founding members of the legacy parties that merged to transform to the APC have thrown their weight behind the NEC meeting.
The forum in a statement issued yesterday urged concerned NEC members to participate in the virtual meeting.
In the statement by its leaders: Saliu Mustapha, Polycap Udah, Capt Bala Jibrin, Ray Morphy, Umar Kachalla Zubair, Dr Slyvanus Amechi, Shaba Emangi, Emeka Enechi, Charles Idahosa, Mohammed Aboki Mahmud, Prince Maxkor Shaka Momodu and Yusuf Omobeni, the forum said the NEC meeting had become pertinent in the collective interest and the survival of the party.
Describing the NEC as a “doctrine of necessity”, the forum noted: “We the representatives of the founding members of the Legacy Parties that merged to form our great party, the APC, welcome the reconvened NEC meeting billed for Thursday with open-arms and indeed for the saving grace–APC Doctrine of Necessity.
“We appeal to all NEC members to attend or participate virtually as the case maybe, for the collective interest of all and the survival of our great party.
“This crucial meeting is Doctrine of Necessity and the last hope of the recovery of the soul of APC; because we have complained bitterly, wailed and lamented helplessly as our great party is sliding dangerously from 24 state governors in 2019 to God knows.
“For the avoidance of doubt, may we for emphases state once more that our rating of the reconvened NEC meeting as Doctrine of Necessity is because NEC, going by Article, 13.1 of APC’s constitution is the principal executive body of our party.
“This being the case, since politics is ‘jaw-jaw’, and negotiation is imperative for the resolution of any conflict, the meeting, therefore, presents a golden opportunity for us to resolve most of the intractable issues bedeviling our great party”.
Also, the Director-General of the Progressive Governors Forum, Salihu Mohammaed Lukman, has called on stakeholders to support the proposed NEC meeting, stressing that it is only the NEC and President Buhari that can bring the party out of its current mess.
*Eta alleges threat to his life
A fresh twist was added to the lingering crisis Wednesday morning when Hon. Hillard Eta, a factional acting national chairman and the current National Vice-Chairman (South), alleged that life is under threat.
Eta, while addressing journalists via telephone also claimed that thugs were allegedly dispatched from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, with sole intention to destroy the national secretariat in protest for the continued stay of Victor Giadom in the APC.
He said that his own life was in danger, going by information available to him, adding that he was about to inform the police of the development.
Eta had earlier claimed that Giadom had since lost his membership of the party, citing an order of a court, even as he had sworn-in Worgu Boms as replacement for Giadom, who maintained he is the authentic acting national chairman.
“The thugs from Port Harcourt, are coming here to burn the secretariat and make it look like the NWC instigated a fire incident so that the secretariat will be burnt down and then, they will give the impression that it is the NWC that is burning down the secretariat because they don’t want Victor Giadom to come in.
“The second intention is to make an attempt on my life. I just thought that is should let the press know this.” he said.
Reacting to the allegation, Giadom stated “ordinarily, I would not have reacted. If he has such information, let him report to the Police.
“The Police have the capacity to track such persons. May be that is his plan because we know that there is a ban on inter-state movement and it is difficult. He should report to the Police except he is the one planning to bring in people from Calabar”.