*President’s proposals endorsed without room for debate
*Sacked national exco members mull legal option
A new page was on Thursday turned in the affairs of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The tenure of Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) was terminated two years, two days after it came into office.
A Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Committee to run the affairs of the party and plan its national convention was inaugurated.
Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni is chairman of the caretaker panel with Senator John James Akpanudoede as secretary.
The members are Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola (Southwest), Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani Bello (Northcentral), Senator Ken Nnamani (Southeast), Senator Abubakar Yusuf (Senate Rep.), Hon. Akinyemi Olaide (Reps.) and Mrs. Stella Oketete (Women Representative).
Other members are Dr. James Lalu (physically-challenged), Chief David Lyon (Southsouth), Senator Abba Ali (Northwest), Prof. Tahir Mamman (Northeast) and Mr. Ismail Ahmed (Youth).
The decisions were taken by the National Executive Committee (NEC) summoned on Thursday by feuding ex-deputy national secretary Victor Giadom, who was laying claim to the chairmanship granted him by an interim court order.
The meeting at Aso Villa, according to sources, was held without a pronounced agenda.
President Buhari merely read an address, in which he made proposals to end the impasse in the party.
There was no for a debate. They were merely robber stamped.
A source at the NEC meeting said decisions at the meeting were premeditated.
The source added that the meeting had no agenda but President Muhammadu Buhari only made some recommendations which became binding on NEC members.
“We were shocked that there was no agenda. All the decisions purportedly agreed at the NEC session were from a meeting held on Wednesday by some anti-Oshiomhole governors and others.
“The President just came in with their recommendations. We thought they were going to throw issues open for debate as expected in a democratic setting but there was nothing like that.
“The plot was already signed and sealed to the consternation of everybody.”
“It was an ambush”, one of the party leaders at the meeting said.
The caretaker’s first assignment was writing a letter to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), notifying it of its new role and on the plan for the Ondo State primary election slated for July 20.
The President made the following proposals which were adopted without a debate.
*immediate discontinuation of all pending litigations involving the party and its members;
*ratifying the primary election conducted in Edo State;
*dissolving the current National Working Committee, and
*appointing Caretaker/Extra-ordinary Convention Planning committee.
On litigations, the President said: “The directive had been issued before, unfortunately some members failed to heed the directive. Thus, at this time, it must be made a Resolution of the Party which must be effectively enforced with dire consequences for members who choose to ignore the directive.”
The President said in order to return to the “winning ways”, the APC must maintain cohesion by closing its ranks.
“We must be alive to the time and the task that is before us. As we all know, we are immediately confronted with the upcoming gubernatorial elections in Edo and Ondo States. Therefore, this is the time to get our acts together.”
Buhari added: “Fellow party members, this is a very crucial moment in the life of our party and it is with a deep sense of concern that I stand before you today to speak as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who has been elected on the platform of our great party – the All Progressives Congress.
“The issues currently confronting our party at this time are such that should worry every party member. At the moment, our great party is faced with internal wrangling; there are on-going litigations amongst some party members and we cannot clearly ascertain the status of certain National Working Committee (NWC) members”, he said.
The President expressed worry over the shifting loyalty within the party and inconsistency in leadership, which had opened the governing party to mockery.
“There are other associated disputes as to the legitimacy or otherwise of holders of certain National Offices of the Party. The Party is also contending with Judicial claims and counter-claims, orders and counter-orders and indeed Judgments and counter-judgments that are predominantly at cross-purposes.
“Confronted with these issues, it is obvious that the fortunes of the party are currently in jeopardy, administration of our party is becoming impossible and there is consequently an urgent need for intervention to immediately arrest further drifts and internal wrangling which may lead to total disintegration.
“What we see clearly emerging, is that we are beginning to self-destruct. This, my dear party members, is not just regrettable but utterly gut-wrenching.”
Addressing reporters after the meeting, Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu, said: “The meeting was well attended, most importantly by President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Speaker, Deputy speaker, governors from the different APC states.
“We are indeed very grateful that the President and the NEC expressed confidence in the governors by appointing this distinguished personalities and we are happy that today, the issues bedeviling our party have been laid to rest by this momentous decisions.
“We are equally congratulating Mr President on the exercise of the mandate that has been given to him by Nigerians and today the party issues, which should not distract him, has been sorted.
“Equally, the meeting ratified all the decisions that have been taken in Edo State primaries and screening primaries and a name will be forwarded properly to INEC, the name of our candidate in the Edo gubernatorial elections.
“Equally, the schedule of activities that will commence in the Ondo state primaries, where by God’s grace, we will also be presenting a candidate, will commence under the leadership of the caretaker committee. We thank all our supporters for putting faith in our party and our party leaders for all the support they have been giving Mr President to achieve this wonderful outcome”, he said.
Buni, the caretaker chairman said: “As a former two-time national secretary, I know the party very well. It’s all about doing justice to every member of the party because without justice there won’t be peace and it is all about team play. I am a team player, I have a capable team that can work with me.
“If you don’t manage crisis, obviously crisis will manage you, so I won’t allow any crisis to fester henceforth and the process of convening this NEC, I want to tell you that it is a continuation of the last notice that was issued and we said we have adjourned and now it’s a continuation of the last adjourned NEC meeting. All the notices were issued accordingly, so in no way are we in any aberration.
“The duration of office is for six months within which we will do whatever we can as enshrined in our constitution and ensure that we strengthen the party and cap it up with the convention.
“NEC is the highest organ of the party if not convention and by our constitution, NEC can act for convention in between . Whatever that happened during the last NWC culminating in Edo primaries have already been ratified by NEC. So we are good to go. All litigations will be withdrawn.
He denied that the dissolution of the party NEC was targeted at victimising or degrading the influence of any party leader.
“You mentioned the name of one of our leaders, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu,a founding father of this party. We are all together to rescue this party from all this, nobody is happy with the situation under which the party is now operating because we are in court for various problems and crisis, so this decision was taken by NEC to address some of this issues. So nobody is targeted and it is against nobody. Asiwaju is one of the leaders of this party and a founding father of the party”, Buni said.