While tenure elongation is still haunting the All Progressives Congress (APC). Some of its members yesterday cried out over the content of a memo presented to the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting on Monday by Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun. They claimed that a portion of the memo was aimed at achieving tenure extension through the backdoor. But the party leadership denied having any hidden plan to extend its tenure.
The NEC rejected tenure elongation for Oyegun and other members of the National Working Committee (NWC). It, however, granted them waivers to recontest at the party’s congresses and convention for which no dates have been fixed. President Muhammadu Buhari was at the NEC meeting to, according to him, nail the coffin of tenure elongation and also declare my re-election bid”.
But in his memo, Oyegun said the Simon Lalong Technical Committee recommended, among others, that: “if for reasons of inability to fulfil constitutional and or legal conditions requisite for the conduct of a valid elective congress or convention, then, the party may as a last resort leverage on the NEC resolution of February 27, 2018, which in our view is lawful in the circumstances.” The NEC, on February 27, approved tenure extension for Oyegun and his team, but reversed itself following the President’s intervention on March 27.
Referring to the committee’s report, Oyegun insisted that the February 27 decision of NEC neither violated APC constitution nor the 1999 Constitution. Sources said yesterday that the adopted memo may “trigger problems”, especially if the proposed congresses and convention are not held.“I suspect a plot to frustrate and subvert the congresses and convention, especially since waivers have been given to the NEC to supervise the exercise and recontest in the intra-party elections. There may be no commitment to successful congresses and convention. The exercise can be programmed to fail to achieve tenure elongation through the backdoor.”
Other recommendations approved by the NEC include a 21 days statutory notice for the holding of elective congresses and convention to be given to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) immediately; the current zoning formula for party offices be retained; requirements of Article 31 (111) be waived in line with the provisions of Article 13.4 (xv) to avoid disruptions in the management of party affairs at all levels; and all pending suits in respect of this matter be withdrawn.
Oyegun recalled that on February 27, the NEC voted to authorise all elected officials to continue in acting capacities for a period not exceeding 12 months after the expiration of their tenure. He said the President observed that the NEC’s decision might have contravened the party constitution and the 1999 Constitution. The chairman noted that, following the President’s observation, the NEC authorised him to set up the Lalong committee to advise the party on the way forward.
The 10-man committee, he said, was mandated to examine the President’s position and recommendations. Oyegun said the committee affirmed the “constitutionality and legality of the NEC Resolution of February 27” and the “need for elective congresses and convention.”Quoting the committee’s report, Oyegun said: “After citing relevant statutes and authorities, the committee concluded that the decision taken by the NEC at its meeting of February 27 did not violate either the constitution of the party and that of the federation.
“In essence, APC is competent through its relevant organs, to constitute caretaker committees to run the affairs of the party upon the expiration of the tenure of its elected party officials where, for some reasons, it is impracticable to hold elections before the requisite effluxion of time.“The committee is of the view that it is the requirement of the constitution that the party should hold democratic congresses and convention every four years. The issue however, is whether or not this requirement accommodates certain exigencies or circumstances that might prevent or make the holding of the congresses and convention impracticable.”
Oyegun said the Lalong committee recommended as follows: “That although the decision taken by NEC on February 27 is legal and constitutional, and violated neither the party constitution nor that of the federation, it is still in the best interest of the party to conduct congresses and convention. “However, in doing so, all reasonable measures should be taken to minimise opportunity for acrimony or rancour while ensuring that all prescribed constitutional and legal conditions are met.”
Dispelling fears of the NWC extending its tenure, APC spokesman Bolaji Abdullahi said the party was already preparing for its congresses and convention. He described the NEC’s decisions as a stop gap measure, pointing out that there is nothing constitutional about them. Abdullahi dismissed insinuations that the party leadership may leverage on that not to hold congresses and convention. He said: “I can assure you that we are preparing for congresses and convention. The congresses and convention will hold and so, there is nothing like anybody leveraging on that to ensure that congresses do not hold so that some people will remain in office”.
Sack Tambuwal From Office, APC Begs Supreme Court
The All Progressive Congress (APC) has asked the Supreme Court to sack Governor Waziri Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State on the ground of irregularities in the primary election that produced him as the party’s candidate in 2014.
The party, in a change of gear, directed its counsel Abduganiyu Arobo to concede to the appeal filed by Senator Umaru Dahiru to get judgment entered in favour of the appellant.
To pave way for the actualization of its new position, the APC de-briefed its lead counsel Mr Jibrin Okutepa (SAN), who stood for the party at the federal high court and the Court of Appeal where he got favourable judgments for the party.
At yesterday’s hearing, a new counsel, Abdulganiyu Arobo announced his appearance for APC shortly after the senior lawyer made the same appearance.
Okutepa in response admitted receiving a letter but insisted that his legal fee payment issue has to be resolved before he will step aside.
Justice Dattijo who demanded a copy of the letter drew the attention of the senior counsel to a portion of the letter that he was engaged for the party by governor Tambuwal and that he should approach Tambuwal for his legal fees paid.
At this point, Okutepa announced his withdrawal from the appeal.
He, however, told the apex court that he ran into stormy waters with the party when he declined to agree to reverse the positions canvassed by APC at the federal high court and the Court of Appeal.
He said he declined to agree because in law, parties must be consistent with their position and that APC was no longer ready to be consistent with its earlier position in two previous courts.
Okutepa further said that the new position of APC came about because of the defection of Governor Tambuwal from the party to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) adding that since he is not a politician but a minister in the temple of justice, he could not join them in the new position.
However, the appeal could not be heard as the court informed parties to wait till January 25, 2019, for its decision in the preliminary objection against hearing of the suit filed by Tambuwal.
Justice Dattijo subsequently fixed March 5, 2019, for the hearing of the appeal.
Dahiru also of APC had challenged the nomination of Tambuwal on the ground that the list of delegates who ought to vote at the 2014 primary election of the party was fraudulently swapped to favour governor Tambuwal.
He urged the court to nullify the primary election or in the alternative, declare him as the rightful candidate of the party for the 2015 governorship election.
The appellant lost at the high court and court of appeal prompting him to approach the Supreme Court for a final decision.
PDP To Kashamu: You Are A Clown, You’re On A Journey To Nowhere
The Peoples Democratic Party has said it has only but pity for the Independent National Electoral Commission/court-recognised governorship candidate for Ogun State, Senator Buruji Kashamu Buruji.
The party in a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondian, spoke against the backdrop of the presentation of governorship flag to Kashamu and his running mate, Dr. Reuben Abati, on Monday.
The party said Kashamu has finally turned himself into a clown in his desperate bid to destabilize the PDP as part of his pact with the Buhari Presidency.
It said this followed the threat of imminent extradition of Kashamu from Nigeria over alleged international fraud.
The party described as the height of ridicule, Kashamu’s purported presentation of himself as Ogun State governorship candidate of the PDP, for which he had to organize his own sham campaign rally, rented an audience and presented a fake PDP flag to himself, after the authentic flag had been handed to the PDP candidate, Ladi Adebutu, by the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.
The statement added: “Senator Buruji, in his forced hallucination, has failed to realize that Nigerians, particularly the voters in Ogun State, have seen through his antics; they know that he is not the PDP governorship candidate in Ogun state; they know that he has a pact with the All Progressives Congress (APC) to destabilize the PDP; they also know that he is a clown on a journey to no where.
“Nigerians are aware that Senator Buruji never purchased PDP nomination form; never participated in our governorship primary or in any process related to nomination of governorship candidate of our party or any position whatsoever.
“Those using Senator Buruji as their agent have turned him into object of public ridicule, particularly in his charade of organizing a rally to hand a fake flag to himself.
“The PDP therefore urges the people of Ogun state to completely disregard Senator Buruji as a clown and continue in their support for the PDP governorship candidate, Ladi Adebutu, who is already coasting to victory.”
Atiku, Obi, Secondus, Saraki, Dogara; Families & Associates Listed For Arrest — PDP
National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, on Monday alleged that the Federal Government and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have listed critical players in opposition including himself, the PDP Presidential Candidate Atiku Abubakar, his Vice Peter Obi, the Senate President Bukola Saraki, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, other top party leaders and their associates for arrest on frame up crimes.
The PDP National Chairman came hard on the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, saying that he has made himself a willing tool to carry out the APC script on how to cage and crush PDP.
“The country is in a keg of a gunpowder at the moment as a result of your hatchet job for the ruling government and I warn you to get away from this illegitimate job of using instruments of state to harass and intimidate opponents,” Prince Secondus said in a statement through his Media Office signed by his Media Adviser Ike Abonyi.
He said that available intelligence shows that former Lagos State Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu and former Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio are presiding over clandestine meetings and developing strategies for the APC which is aimed at freezing critical leaders of the opposition.
He said that aside arrest and detention of opposition leaders, their family members and business associates have been lined up for intimidation and harassment including freezing their business interests and their bank accounts.
Secondus described as an afterthought fabrication, the EFCC denial that the son of the PDP Presidential Candidate was not the target in the raid of an apartment housing him in Abuja insisting that the game plan privy to the party was clear on who was the ultimate target.
Prince Secondus reminded Nigerians that these acts of impunity is in continuation of the embarrassment they caused our Presidential candidate and former Vice President of this country on Novemeber 11, 2019 when he was thoroughly searched at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport by operatives of the state on his return from overseas on November 11, 2018.
“After that embarrassment and harassment which was aimed at intimidating the candidate and nothing incriminating was found on him, no apology was extended to him as a former number two citizen.
“They followed it up with the freezing of the Bank account of our Vice Presidential Candidate as well as that of his friends and family members as part of a large scheme to keep the party distracted from its focus of regaining power in 2019.”
According to the script, “PDP will be brought to their knees so that by January they would be finally grounded with their leaders framed up and put behind bars,” Secondus said.
He said that in the script, APC and the Federal Government believe that the party can only bark and not bite as observed in the case of Osun and Ekiti states while indeed they are set and determined for the worse rather than lose the election.
Prince Secondus warned that “while PDP believes and cherishes all ingredients of democracy including the rule of law, it cannot guarantee any situation that aims at cowing the opposition and thwart the will of the Nigeria people.”
He chided “Magu and other characters of his type who are willing to assist the APC in undermining democracy, to look back at history and know that the consequences are always not palatable.”
The PDP National Chairman called on “all lovers of democracy and rule of law especially international community to rein in President Buhari, Magu and the APC to observe the tenets of democracy that respects the sanctity of the opposition and human rights.”