Stakeholders who called for the sack of the Aliyu Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) Thursday finally had their say, as the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) sacked the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership under Oshiomhole.
And in its place, a caretaker committee headed by Yobe state Governor Mai Mala Buni was constituted, with a mandate to conduct within six months a National Convention to elect a new set of NWC members for the party.
In the heat of the crisis, President Muhammadu Buhari, had assured governors elected on the party’s platform that he would resolve the feud in line with the rule of law.
And promptly, he gave his backing to the choice of Victor Giadom, the erstwhile deputy national secretary, as the acting national chairman and also promised to attend the NEC meeting summoned by Giadom.
Although, the Eta-led NWC members vowed not to be part of what they called illegality, nevertheless the meeting held with virtually all NEC members in attendance.
The meeting had in attendance Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the state governors and some NWC members.
Buhari sets the tone
As the meeting kicked off, President Buhari set the tone for the removal of the NWC members from office, when he proposed that dissolving the current leadership and appointing a caretaker committee in its place was the best way out of the crisis.
Addressing the meeting in Abuja, the president advised all APC members to withdraw all pending litigations against one another, and settle for internal conciliation, warning that the mutating disagreements could lead to self-destruction, with dire consequences.
The president told the emergency meeting held via virtual platform that the gains of the party could be reversed if the crisis was not handled with caution.
He said: “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.”
The president expressed worry over the shifting loyalty within the party and inconsistency in leadership, which had exposed the governing party to mockery.
“There are also 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.
“The meeting may adopt the developed resolution as contained in the agenda and pass resolutions including: approving the 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 for the party,” he said.
On the need to discontinue litigations involving party members, he said: “The directive had been issued before, unfortunately some members failed to heed the directive. Thus, at this time, it must be made resolution of the party which must be effectively enforced with dire consequences for members who choose to ignore the directive.”
He 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,” the president further said.
Buni heads caretaker
The emergency NEC meeting adopted all the recommendations by the president, and appointed Governor Buni as caretaker national chairman, while Senator John Akpanudoede was designated caretaker national secretary.
The committee has representatives from the six geo-political zones and other interests.
They are Osun state Governor Isiaka Oyetola (South-west), Senator Ken Nnamani(South-east) Ms Stella Okorete (women), Niger state Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello (North-central), Dr. James Lalu (physically challenged), Senator Abubakar Yusuf (Senate), Hon. Akinyemi Olaide (House of Representatives), Mr. David Lyon (South-south), Mr. Abba Ari (North-west), Professor Tahir Mamman (North-east), and Mr. Ismail Ahmed representing the youth.
Addressing journalists upon assuming office at the national secretariat, Governor Buni assumed that his committee would resolve the crisis rocking the party and do justice to all the members.
Buni said without justice there can never be peace, promising to carry all the members along within the short period his committee would be in place.
He arrived the secretariat in company of some of his colleague-governors and other party leaders.
The caretaker chair who was a two-term national secretary of APC said: “I can say I know the party very well, I want to assure every APC member that we will do justice to everyone because we have a capable team.
“I am a team player and I am here to manage a crisis and if you do not manage crisis, crisis will manage you so without justice, there will be no peace, so I am ready to do justice to every APC member.
“NEC is the highest organ of the party except the convention, and NEC can function for convention in-between, so any decision taken by NEC is the final decision.”
He also said the NEC directed that every member in court should withdraw his or her suit.
“Party will carry all members along especially the leaders of the APC. Many of them have paid their dues to the party, so we will carry them along.”
Non-NWC forum excos dissolved
Meanwhile a forum of the Non-National Working Committee of the party (Non-NWC NEC) has dissolved its executive.
Addressing a news conference shortly after the NEC meeting in Abuja, the new Acting Publicity Secretary of the forum, Mr. Muhammad Sani Ibrahim, said Hon. Nelson Alapa led non-NWC forum was dissolved based on the decision of the majority of members.
The new officers to run the activities of the forum include: Acting Chairman Hon. Abuja Fakai, Acting Secretary, Mr. David Okumagba and Acting Publicity Secretary, Hon Muhammed Sani Ibrahim.
Ibrahim said: “On behalf of the majority members of the non-NWC, I am saddled to announce the decision of the members of the NEC to express the displeasure of the members due to the leadership failure, ineffectiveness, uncooperative attitude, lack of transparency and accountability in stewardship, financial misappropriation and party unfaithfulness.
“The party caretaker committee led by Hon Nelson Alapa and eleven others is hereby dissolved with immediate effect. In its place, a three-man member committee is hereby agreed to run the affairs of the forum in acting capacity pending when a proper election will be held.”
APC state chairmen back NWC’s sack
Also; the forum of state chairmen of the APC has applauded the decision by the extraordinary NEC to dissolve the Oshiomhole-led NWC.
Spokesman of the group, Malam Lawal Liman expressed optimism that the party would be further strengthened with the decision to put in place the Buni-led caretaker committee to oversee its affairs.
Liman, who chairs the Zamfara state chapter of the party said: “We have said time without number that APC is a strong party because we have a strong leader and the NEC has finally taken a decision which we are confident.
“The new acting caretaker chairman was one time a national secretary of the party, so the institutional memory is there. So we are confident that we are moving to a greater height.
“W believe all the NEC members are happy with the decision because when the leader of the party was giving his speech, many things were listed, some of us were nervous, we were touched that whoever has this party at heart will be happy about this decision. The needed action has been taken which we believe will strengthen our party.”
Party writes INEC
In a related development, the Buni-led committee has formally notified the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) informing the body of the composition of a 13-man team to run the party.
It similarly wrote another letter dated 25th of June, 2020, to notify INEC of a plan to conduct the Ondo governorship primary election 20th July, 2020.
The Ondo primary election letter was signed by both Buni and Udoedehe as chairman and secretary respectively.
“I wish to please inform your Commission that, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of our great party at its 8th resumed meeting on Thursday, 25th June, 2020 approved the immediate dissolution of the National Working Committee (NWC).
“The National Executive Committee also constituted a National Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee,” the letter read.
On the conduct of governorship primary election in Ondo state, the party asked the electoral empire to “kindly arrange the monitoring of the exercise accordingly.”