The National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) will hold today amidst tension and controversies as some power blocks and interest groups are uncomfortable with the leadership of the party.
The last NEC meeting, which held on June 25, saw the sack of the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, and the dissolution of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party. Ahead of today’s crucial meeting, Oshiomhole has ruled out the possibility of his return to his previous position as the boss of the ruling party.
New Telegraph gathered that today’s NEC meeting, which will hold at the Presidential Villa, is also dogged by controversies as some members of the party had, last week, approached the court to stop it. The suit was filed on the grounds that the motive behind the meeting was to extend the tenure of the Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee.
The Caretaker Committee was set up in June 25 by NEC to conduct a National Convention within six months. Six months after, the committee was yet to conduct the convention, but has rather embarked on a “suspicious” membership registration and revalidation exercise which was not part of its mandate.
It was learnt that the tenure of the Caretaker Committee, fresh registration of members and revalidation of party membership will top agenda at the NEC meeting. A member of NEC and state party chairman from the South-East told New Telegraph that if the meeting had been conducted physically there would have been brawls among members. According to him, there is high tension as many people are not happy the way the party is presently being run by the caretaker committee.
The state party chairman, who pleaded anonymity, emphasized that many postulations have been given on what the Caretaker Committee was taking to NEC. One of it, he said, is the dissolution of all levels of executives of the party.
The second is the extension of the tenure of the Caretaker Committee and membership registration and revalidation of party membership. “We will wait to see what the outcome of the NEC meeting would be before reacting,” he told our correspondent.
However, Secretary of the Committee, Senator John Akpan Udoedehe, has denied the allegation that the meeting was convened to extend the tenure of the interim leadership. Udoedehe said the meeting was designed to enable the interim leadership to present the achievements and challenges of the party to NEC and receive further directives on the way forward for the party.
According to him, the committee would be presenting to NEC the issues of reward system, trust and tension in the party. “We will present to them the timetable of what we have proposed to do. It would be left for them to say no or yes. There is nothing about tenure elongation. There is something you asked: Can we do registration in a festive period?
This is what NEC would approve or not. “There are tensions, trust issues, reward system and so many that would be presented,” he said. Oshiomhole, who was eased out of the leadership of the APC about six months ago, said he would not return as National Chairman even if another NEC decision or a court order reverses the earlier order suspending him and dissolving the NWC of the party.
The declaration came on the heels of a court case instituted by a member of the dissolved NWC seeking a reversal of an earlier court decision that sacked the Oshiomhole leadership from superintending over the National Secretariat of the APC.
Hilliard Eta, who was National Vice-Chairman (South-South) of the dissolved NWC, had recently gone to court challenging the dissolution of the NWC on June 25. Eta is also asking the court to declare as illegal the Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee constituted by NEC.
The legal challenge triggered some media reports which insinuated that Oshiomhole might be remotely behind the action as a way of staging a comeback. In a statement made available to journalists yesterday, Oshiomhole acknowledged that the legal action taken by a member of the dissolved NWC was reported with some attributions made to the effect that plaintiff is an “ally of Oshiomhole” or an “associate of Oshiomhole.”
Apparently denying any link with the suit, he said that the court documents were clear on who is the plaintiff. “For the avoidance of doubt, the 21-member NWC under my leadership largely worked cohesively and harmoniously. The only exceptions were those of the three members used by forces desperate to take control of the party.
They contrived a crisis and abused the judicial process to undermine the constitution and integrity of the party. “The majority of 18 members worked as a team and not as allies or loyalists of anybody. When the NEC, in its wisdom, dissolved the NWC, I immediately announced publicly that I accepted the decision, regardless of its illegality or otherwise, as it affected my position as national chairman.
“I was the only one at the press conference where I made the announcement for personal reasons. The reason, of course, was that some of my colleagues in the dissolved NWC obviously didn’t share my position not to contest the dissolution in court. I can only accept responsibility for my own decision. Subsequently, I instructed my lawyers to withdraw the suits challenging my purported suspension from office by the proxies of those bent on removing me as chairman.
“It is, therefore, the height of mischief to insinuate, as it is being done in some quarters, that I would publicly accept the decision and later surreptitiously seek to contest it in court. That chapter of my political life is closed. Even if another NEC decision or a court order reverses the dissolution, with utmost humility, I will decline to return as APC chairman,” Oshiomhole vowed.
He said that he remained proud of the accomplishments of the NWC under his leadership and grateful to the “principled 18 members” who worked as a team committed to the cause of the party. The former labour leader said he bore no grudges against anyone for the manner of his removal, but was rather grateful and loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari who encouraged him to contest the chairmanship of the party.
“I am also very much appreciative of the support of President Buhari who encouraged me to assert the authority of the party without fear or favour. Indeed, I would not have lasted as long as I did as national chairman, but for the President’s support for me. I will continue to support his administration to succeed in serving the common good of the people of Nigeria,” he said.