The National Executive Committee of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is expected to take a final stand tonight on the tenure of the current party executives.
The tenure of members of the National Working Committee (NWC) headed by Chief John Odigie- Oyegun, which is billed to expire on June 30, was last month extended by one year.
The party’s convention is supposed to hold before June 30, but this is now uncertain with the extension of the tenure of the NWC members. The development has polarised the party.
The Caucus meeting of the party, which usually precedes the NEC meeting, held last night at the Presidential Villa. The fate of Oyegun’s NWC was top on the agenda.
Forces against tenure extension include the camp of the party leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and members of the party in the Senate and House of Representatives.
The report of the Governor Nasir El-Rufai committee on true federalism and the APC constitution review had been pencilled down for discuss at the Caucus..
Sources with knowledge of what would transpire at yesterday’s APC Caucus meeting said aggrieved members had made up their minds that the tenure elongation approved for Oyegun and others by the NEC of the party must be reversed for peace to reign.
The sources said ninety per cent of the problems bedevilling the party could be resolved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“A decision must be taken between today (yesterday) and tomorrow (today). If those that matter insist that the NWC members must continue, the likes of Tinubu and many National Assembly members would have to decide on what to do to remain relevant politically,” one of the sources said.
Another source said the Caucus would advise that a caretaker committee should be constituted because there was no time to organize a national convention.
“If you remember, it was agreed during the last month’s Caucus meeting that the congresses and convention would hold. The president even preached peace and urged party members to unite,” he said.
“But sadly, the decision was changed; they changed the mind of the president in less than ten hours when the tenure elongation issue came up. It was the hand work of some governors, including Nasir El-Rufai, Yahaya Bello, Rotimi Akeredolu and M.A. Abubakar, in cohort with the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi who wanted Oyegun and others to remain on board for selfish reason,” he said.
Another source said though Tinubu and the leadership of both the Senate and House of Representatives had not been on the same page since 2015, “they have now found a point of convergence – they all said Oyegun must go.”
According to the source, “Tinubu had long ago shelved the responsibility given to him by President Muhammadu Buhari to reconcile aggrieved members of the party. He stopped after the abrupt tenure elongation granted to members of the NWC.
“On the other hand, senators and members of the House of Representatives have categorically said the tenure extension cannot stand because it contravened the provisions of the APC Constitution.
“For instance, the senators were unambiguous in stating their position when Oyegun and his team visited them at the National Assembly last week. The senators took turns telling them the truth that the APC leadership had failed in all respect by allowing crisis to fester everywhere.
“They told them that even if the party constitution allowed tenure extension, political expediency will not allow them to continue because they have failed to keep the party as one family.
“Convention is the way out because it would provide political solution to all contending issues in the party. However, tenure extension is an illegality and some aggrieved members are waiting in the background; even the opposition members are watching and they would go to court and counter all the decisions taken after the expiration of the NWC tenure. It would be difficult for the APC to recover because we are already in election season,” he said.
According to him, “a battle line has been drawn and the only solution is to go for convention.”
APC Committee on True Federalism
The party constituted a committee led by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State to fine-tune the party’s concept on the issue of restructuring on July 19, 2017.
On January 25, 2018, the chairman of the committee submitted its report to Chief Odigie-Oyegun-led APC National Working Committee (NWC).
The report of the committee was officially unveiled and presented to Nigerians in Abuja on January 31, 2018.
The committee made far-reaching recommendations on the creation of states, derivation principle, fiscal federalism and revenue allocation, devolution of powers, federating units, form of government, independent candidacy, land tenure system, local government autonomy, power sharing and rotation, resource control, and type of legislature.
There were further recommendations and advice on the demand for affirmation for vulnerable groups, citizenship, ministerial appointment, state constitution, role for traditional rulers, community participation, minimum wage, legislation, elections, governance, judiciary, as well as states realignment and boundary adjustment.
APC Draft Constitution
The APC constitution review committee led by Muiz Banire, the party’s National Legal Adviser, submitted its report that contained 85 proposals for amendment on July 27, 2017.
Dr Banire, while presenting the report, said the 10-member committee worked with the International Republican Institute (IRI) to accomplish the task.
He said major categories amended included powers, responsibilities and functions of party organs; composition of organs; disciplinary procedure; definitions; financial management; membership; organizational structure and tenure as well as the issue of internal democracy among others.
Tinubu absent at APC caucus meeting
A national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, was absent at the party’s caucus meeting held at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja last night.
The meeting, held at the new Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The meeting, which started at 8:30pm, was still ongoing at the time of filing this report (10:05pm).
It was attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Bukola Saraki, House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara, APC National Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun, and other party’s chieftains.
State governors present at the meeting included those of Ogun, Edo, Lagos, Benue, Bauchi, Katsina, Sokoto, Kaduna, Ondo, Adamawa, Kano, Jigawa, Kogi and Kebbi.
Tinubu’s media aide, Mr Tunde Rahman did not respond to a call yesterday on why his principal was not at the caucus meeting.
However, he had told the Daily Trust on Sunday that, “What Asiwaju is saying is that things should be done rightly, I mean constitutionally.” He said that Tinubu’s grouse with Oyegun’s executive is not a personal thing.
“Personally, I have looked at the APC constitution and I did not see where it granted elongation of tenure in whatever form to executive committees of parties. Even the 1999 Constitution as amended speaks about what is right with respect to the periodic tenure of party executives. That is in Section 223,” he said.