There was disquiet on Tuesday, December 8, 2020, in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, following the dissolution of ward, local government, and state executive committees by the National Executive Committee, NEC.
The NEC also extended the tenure of the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, CECPC, for six months.
The body expelled former APC National Vice Chairman Hillard Etta for failing to withdraw the suit he instituted to challenge the dissolution of the NEC, led by former Edo State Governor Adam’s Oshiomhole.
These resolutions were disclosed to State House journalists by Governors Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Hope Uzodinma (Imo); and Secretary of the CECPC, Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe, at the NEC meeting in Abuja.
The meeting, which was held at the Executive Chambers of the State House, was attended by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The party also approved waivers for new and intending members of the party, which would make it possible and easy for them to contest for party and elective positions.
It also condemned the call by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the impeachment of President Buhari.
However, Etta rejected his expulsion, saying that the meeting lacked the power to expel him.
Also, the PDP urged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to register the ruling party, following the dissolution of its ward, local government, state, and zonal structures.
Addressing reporters, the governors listed the five NEC resolutions as follows: “Number one, the NEC of the party approved the extension of the tenure of the CECPC, led by His Excellency, Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, which expires on December 26, 2020, for another six months, to terminate on 30th of June, 2021. This is to enable the CECPC to conclude its assignment, as laid before NEC.
“NEC has also donated its powers, as enshrined in Articles 13.3, subsection 5 and 13.3, subsection 6 of the APC Constitution to the Caretaker and Convention Committee.
“NEC has approved the granting of waivers to persons who have recently joined our party and those desirous of joining the party in the nearest future.
“By this, such new members will enjoy all the benefits and privileges accruable by virtue of their membership of the party, so they’ll be able to contest for positions in the party, they’ll be able to contest elections without any requirement for being members for a number of years or period of time.
“The third resolution is that the NEC approved the expulsion of Ntufam Hilliard Etta from the party for flouting the directive of NEC to discontinue all litigations against the party and its members.
“Number four, NEC approved the immediate dissolution of the party organs at the polling unit, ward, local government, state and zonal level, as well as the non-National Working Committee component of the National Executive Committee, as well as their immediate reconstitution and composition of the dissolved excos to serve in their respective offices in a caretaker committee capacity. This excludes the non-NWC members of NEC.
“Finally, the NEC of the party condemns, in very strong terms, the call by the PDP leadership and some of their cheerleaders, for the resignation of Mr. President.
“NEC observed that security challenges, though regrettable, can only be addressed when all interests; civil and military, government and oppositions, security forces and indeed, every citizen collaborate, irrespective of party affiliations. This is not the time to politicise security,” the party said.
Shedding light on the dissolution, Akeredolu said: “The NEC at its meeting approved the dissolution of party organs at the polling units, wards, local government, states, and zonal levels as well as the non-NWC members.
El-Rufai said: “As clearly stated, also the composition of the dissolved EXCOs to serve in their respective offices in a caretaker committee capacity until we complete party registration and conduct congresses.”
The governor added: “The CECPC needs more time to organise this, which is expected that before the end of the expiration of the life of the extension, they would have conducted the national convention, so that we have leadership from the top down.
“Registration is going to start very soon and revalidation of registration and membership. Since we undertook our last membership registration in 2015, about 25 million have reached the age of 18 and may want to join the party.
“So, we want to capture those, and then after we complete the registration, we will have congresses at the various levels, leading up to the national convention before the 30th of June 2021, by the grace of God.”
President Buhari lauded the efforts of the13-member CECPC, pointing out that members who initially left the party had returned to the fold.
The President also noted that APC had received defectors from opposition parties.
He said what was needed now was for party chiefs to display discipline and sustain the tempo.
Buhari said: “I have received periodic briefings from the caretaker extraordinary convention planning committee, as well as other leaders of the party. I am convinced that in the last five months, since the appointment of the caretaker committee the initiatives taken have brought remarkably new atmosphere of hope in the party.
“What is required now is for all of us as leaders of the party to maintain discipline and ensure that this new momentum is protected, sustained and the decisions of party organs are respected by every member.
“Despite the challenge to restore peace in the party and the series of elections at hand, the fact that we have gained more members and that we are not losing members to the opposition under the present interim leadership, indicates improvement of the party.
“In fact, we have begun to win back our members who left us and other notable political leaders are being attracted to our party.”
The President, who acknowledged the defection of Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi to the party, said the defection confirmed that “we are indeed making progress as a party of choice for Nigerians, as we move towards the resolution of our leadership challenges.”
Chairmen endorse dissolution
The Forum of State Chairmen of the All Progressives Congress, APC, on Tuesday, December 8, 2020, lauded the resolutions of the party’s NEC.
Ben Nwoye, its secretary and Enugu State chapter chairman, said the dissolution was in the interest of the party.
He added: “The decision to dissolve the exco of the party was in the interest of the party. The outcome of the NEC to further strengthen the party and further streamline the processes and solidify the party and by the time the Caretaker Committee finishes their work, we have a more formidable party. We will have a more forward looking and more progressive political party.”
However, many state chairmen objected to the dissolution without concrete reasons, saying that an unelected national caretaker committee pushed for the dissolution of duly elected ward, council, state, and zonal committees.
A source said there was uproar at the meeting before it was resolved that the sacked structures should be converted into the caretaker committees at ward, council, state, and zonal levels.
According to the source, some members of the National Caretaker Committee also expressed reservations.
Osita Okechukwu, a party chieftain and Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria, VON, in a statement in Abuja, shortly after the NEC meeting, said the decisions would reposition the party.
“This is what our national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, embarked upon in 2013 when we were newly registered. It was botched by the Peoples Democratic Party-led federal government. The biometric registration will enable us to know with a punch of a button our membership from all the polling units, wards, LGAS, and states nationwide. With biometric registration, we will plan elections both primaries and main elections better.”
The Ogun State APC welcomed the resolution, noting that it had been replaced with conversion.
Tunde Oladunjoye, its publicity secretary, said in a statement in Abeokuta, the state capital, that there will be no vacuum in party leadership and administration.
He said: “We, in Ogun APC commend NEC for its bold decision on members still with cases in courts, and advised that those who are yet to comply with the party’s directive asking them to withdraw their cases from courts to do so in order to avoid similar sanctions from NEC.”
But, a group, the Concerned APC Members, said the decisions will create fresh problems for the party.
Abdullahi Dauda, its spokesperson, said: “The pronouncement by our party’s NEC did not come to us as a surprise; we knew about the plot long before today. We wish to say it is the beginning of another long journey for our party.”
Also, Eta, who had on November 26 approached an Abuja Federal High Court seeking an order of to nullify the dissoution of the Oshiomole-led National Working Committee, NWC, and recognise him as acting national chairman, said his expulsion was a nullity.
Faulting the NEC meeting, Etta said the CECPC Secretary James John Akpanudoedehe, has no power to convene a NEC meeting.
Etta added: “I am already in court. The lawyers amongst them should have told them that they can’t make that pronouncement since I am in court.
“Their action is a nullity because it isn’t even the NEC of the party that met. Their so-called acting national secretary has no power to convene NEC.
Source: The Nation