President Muhammadu Buhari, has faulted decision of the All Progressives Congress (APC), barring members dissatisfied with the conduct of the party’s primaries from seeking legal redress.
The Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee recently threatened to sanction any member who took the party to court.
Overruling the party hierarchy, President Buhari said such a decision was wrong, saying the court remains the last option for the aggrieved.
In a statement issued yesterday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the president said: “We can’t deliberately deny people of their rights. We agreed that party primaries should be conducted either through direct, indirect or consensus methods, and if anyone feels unjustly treated in the process, such a person can go to court.
“The court should always be the last resort for the dissatisfied. For the party to outlaw the court process is not acceptable to me.”
The president further stressed that “if anyone is displeased with the way and manner anything has been done, and feels deprived of his or her rights, then such a person is at liberty to approach the courts for redress.”
The party’s NWC, had last week, threatened to punish members across the country who had dragged the party to court over various issues.
In a statement signed by its spokesman, Lanre Issa-Onilu, the party said: “The party intends to activate constitutional provisions to penalise such members as their action is capable of undermining the party and hurt the party’s interest.
“We hereby strongly advise such members to withdraw all court cases, while approaching the appropriate party organs with a view to resolving any outstanding disputes. In addition to this, aggrieved members are urged to take full advantage of the reconciliation committees the party has put in place.
“APC members should understand that as a progressive party that operates on the principle of change, it is not a matter of choice to keep to the rules.”
In a related development, the president also advised members of the party to work with the reconciliation committees empanelled for the six geo-political zones by the APC, and not a purported Presidential Committee on Reconciliation, stressing that the party is the only body authorised to constitute such committees.
Al-Makura assures of fairness
Similarly, the Umar Tanko Al#l-Makura-led APC reconciliation committee for the North-east, has assured aggrieved members that it would be fair to all as it commences its assignment today.
He said the peace panel has resolved to listen to all and ensure that they were fairly heard, and hopefully be assuaged of their grievances.
The Nasarawa state governor in a statement yesterday in Abuja, said, “APC is a political party born by the sincere desire of ordinary Nigerians for leadership, which is anchored on love of country above self, which is why the effort of his committee at peace building in the North East will exemplify ideals of transparency and fairness to all who are aggrieved.
“As a sign of the unwavering commitment of the APC National Peace and Reconciliation Committee to mend broken fences and be a major drum for peace and party unity, the committee will adopt a simple and transparent strategy in the North-east.”
According to him, “the panel will listen with open mind and provide fair hearing to all aggrieved members of the APC with a view to reconciling, rebuilding and repairing the party.
“Transparency and fairness to all, will rekindle trust, renew alliances and ensure that APC closes ranks as one family, united to face the greater electoral battle ahead!”
Director General, Strategic Communication and Press Affairs to the Governor, Malam Yakubu Lamai, who signed the statement, said the committee for the North-east will conduct marathon hearings in Maiduguri, Bauchi and Yola.
Other members of the committee include; Governors Bello Masari, Abubakar Badaru of Katsina and Jigawa states respectively, Chief (Mrs) Jumoke Anifowoshe, Mr. Matthew Omegara, Hajiya Hafsat Baba and General Abdullahi Aboki.
The Committee has two weeks to submit its report to the party’s NWC.
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