•APC now lawless, says Deputy National Chair, Shuaibu
•Queries Bulama’s appointment, says party risks losing in Ondo, Edo
•Edo, Ondo APC governorship aspirants to pay N22.5m
•Oshiomhole did no wrong, says West-Idahosa
•Lagos records 131 new cases, as confirmed cases rise to 6,401
By Omeiza Ajayi & Ozioruva Aliu
Fresh crisis seems to be brewing in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, over developments in the party regarding governorship elections in two off-cycle states, Ondo and Edo.
Deputy National Chairman, North, of the party, Senator Lawal Shuaibu, yesterday, alleged that the party is increasingly resorting to what he called “illegalities” by the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, saying the party is now a nest of lawlessness.
According to him, the national chairman’s behaviour may cost the party the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states, if the situation is not immediately addressed.
In a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, Shuaibu regretted that after his letter of May 28, 2019, warning Oshiomhole about the landmines he was laying for himself and the APC, the party leadership has continued to act in breach of all relevant laws.
He said with the manner the party is being managed, there is a high possibility of losing Ondo and Edo states to the opposition.
In a swift reaction, Oshiomhole’s lawyer, Dr. Ehiogie West-Idahosa, said last night that the party’s national chairman was right in his action, noting he hasn’t breached the party’s constitution.
But in the statement, titled “APC and its Future, Let us exercise caution,” Shuaibu also queried the appointment of an acting National Secretary for the party, Arc. Waziri Bulama.
He said when he “wrote Comrade Adams Oshiomhole on May 28, 2019, warning him of the dangerous direction the party was heading, and the probable and compelling need for him to excuse himself from the office of the chairman, little did I know that the innocent suggestion would not only be treated with levity and disdain, but also incur his wrath.”
Shuaibu added that all the issues he raised in the said letter had come to pass and described the party as a nest of lawlessness.
Nest of lawlessness
He said: “Till date, the party, founded on the principles of constitutionalism and rule of law, is now subject of arbitrary administration without regard for the dictates of the law. The ruling party which ought to be a model for others in upholding of the rule of law, is now the nest of lawlessness.
“The entire legal framework governing party’s administration in Nigeria today, the Nigerian Constitution, the party constitution, the Electoral Act and INEC regulations and guidelines are more honoured by the party in breaches than obedience.
“To buttress my above assertion, the following few examples will drive the point home. By (Article 9.1(ii) and 9.4 (i) of APC Constitution as amended, pages 6 and 8) every member will be registered at his ward when his or her name is entered in the register by the Ward Executives.
“My understanding of this provision is that power in the party is exercised bottom up! What this means is that every member of the party is answerable to his constituency. Being a party member, therefore, is a constitutional issue embedded in the membership register.
“Also, the Constitution of the party stipulates a mandatory meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) every three months (Article 25 B (i) of APC constitution as amended.). This regular meeting is not only targeted at keeping the members abreast of developments, but also ensuring collective responsibility of decision taken.
“By the combined effect of the above provision and Article 18 of the APC Constitution as amended), NEC is the main decision making organ after the convention, and shall meet every three months. The power to set up standing or ad-hoc committees of the party is vested in the same NEC.
“It will be recalled that part of my agitation in the period running from 2018 to 2019, was the need and request that both the screening and the selection committees ( Selection Committee being committee for primaries) be set up by the party.
“Rather than acceding to this imperative request, the chairman chose to personally constitute both the screening committees for the governorship and senatorial elections, as well as the final appeals committee, all in violation of the extant constitutional provisions of our party vesting the power in NEC.
“To worsen the situation, and in violation of rule of natural justice, he made himself the chairman of both committees. It is this refusal to convene NEC to perform its role that has led the party to the comatose state it is now. My fear is, it is being repeated now for Ondo and Edo.
“Again, the APC Constitution in Article 20 () (a) made it unambiguously clear that all party posts prescribed or implied by this constitution SHALL be filled by democratically conducted elections at the respective convention (in the case of NWC or NEC) or congress (in the case of Executive Committees at State, Local Government or ward levels) et al.’’
Describing the appointment of an acting National Secretary for the party as a nullity, Shuaibu said: “There is nowhere in that same constitution where it was envisaged that an officer of the party could be appointed by the Chairman nor the NWC.
“Not even NEC has the power to appoint any national officer of the party in any capacity. Let me ask this simple question, what is difficult in organizing a mid term convention to elect the officers in line with the constitution so that even the officers will have confidence that they are elected like all other officers?
“The constitution of the the party in Article 25 (A) (1) page 89 stipulates that there shall be a convention every two years. We had convention in 2018 and another one is due in 2020. What is the hurry in appointing an acting national secretary when we have the duly elected deputy national secretary who have been acting in that capacity since December 2018 in line with Article 14.4 of the Constitution on page 58?
“All NWC officers have offices of their deputies to take charge of that office in the absence of the principal, in consonance with article 14 of the constitution in its entirety. But what is happening to this constitutional provision? Does it have a different legal interpretation?
“The self-imposed and national publicity secretary in a press statement, stated that the National Working Committee, NWC, had appointed an acting national secretary. How do you appoint? Are we still running a party with rules and regulations?
“This is now the pattern in the party. Let me state unequivocally that any nomination signed by such acting national secretary is a nullity and liable to be challenged by the opposition. Are we deaf and blind?
“What are the leaders of the party doing in the midst of this anarchy? Are they all equally fed up with the seeming collapsing party in the hands of a politically injured person that seems to be nursing political revenge? The leaders need to take a stand so that the followers know whether the party is now either a jungle or that entity of our collective dream at the inception.
“Majority of the members of the party are already perplexed, disillusioned and some even weighing their options. A stitch in time, I believe, saves nine!
“By Article 2 of the APC Constitution, provides that subject to the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and any other laws for the time being in force in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the provisions of this constitution SHALL be SUPREME, PROVIDED that where any rule, regulation or any other enactment shall, to the extent of its inconsistency, be null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
“This document leaves no room for any form of aberration or brigandage. In the light of the above, call on leaders of APC to urgently intervene to ensure the provisions of the party constitution are adhered to and not further compromised.
“Let me state categorically that I have no political ambition beyond where I find myself and my interest, if I may state, is borne out of genuine intention to save the party I laboured to build.
‘Defeat imminent in Ondo, Edo’
“With regards to Ondo and Edo primary elections, there is already absence of transparency. The regulations issued that will guide the processes are already in violation of Article 20 (v) on page 76 of the APC constitution as amended where only the National Executive Committee, NEC, is the only organ that SHALL approve such guidelines and regulations which include the mode of nominating our candidates. I am crying for APC inside me! Zamfara, here we come again.”
Oshiomhole did no wrong, says West-Idahosa
Reacting on behalf of Oshiomhole, West-Idahosa said: “I can’t see any part of that constitution that Comrade has breached. The way the APC constitution is organized, there is so much power given the national chairman, he is the chief executive of the party.
“Article 14 (1) makes the national chairman the chief executive and accounting officer of the party. It gave him several other powers, such as to give general direction to the party, to provide good and effective leadership to the party.
“Bulama was brought in to replace the secretary who is now governor of Yobe State, both of them are from the north east, there is nothing that specifies the method of replacement.”
On the issue of guidelines for primary election, he said: “INEC has announced the time-table already and you know that every party must give 21 days notice to INEC as to when they want to conduct their primaries.
“What should a good chief executive do when the NEC has already released the time table? He should be sleeping? How can Comrade Oshiomhole operate the party without being proactive? Do they want the party to suffer the same fate it suffered in Zamfara as a result of complacency?
“It is better to be proactive. I am very convinced that there is no way the national officers of the party would not have met on this matter. Under the constitution, he (Shuaibu) is only to act when Oshimhole is not there or to carry out such directives as Oshiomhole will give to him.
“I don’t think there is any big deal; I don’t see anything that Oshiomhole has done now for which the man has just gone to town except that he just wants t be heard. I am speaking to you from the position of a man who is sitting in front of the APC constitution.”
Gov aspirants to cough out N22.5m
Meanwhile, the party said yesterday that governorship aspirants in Edo and Ondo states would each pay N22.5 million as part of the requirements for contesting the gubernatorial poll on September 19 and October 10.
In a time-table released in Abuja yesterday, APC National Organising Secretary, Emma Ibediro, said that the party would begin the primaries with the sale of nomination and expression of interest forms to the governorship aspirants.
According to him, the sale of forms to Edo governorship aspirants will begin from May 20 to June 2, while that of Ondo State will be from June 11 to July 1, 2020.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had in February, fixed the governorship election in Edo for September 19, while that of Ondo State was fixed for October 10.
Ibediro said the forms for each aspirant in both states had been fixed at N22.5 million.
According to him, this includes N2.5 million for expression of interest form and N20 million for nomination form.
“There shall be no separate charge for the deputy. Female aspirants and physically challenged aspirants will pay 50 per cent of the prescribed fees for each position,” he said.
Ibediro said that all payments should be made into the party’s bank account.
Recall that Edo governorship primary will hold on June 22, while that of Ondo State is scheduled for July 20.
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