All Progressives Congress has cleared the former National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, and former National Secretary, Senator Iyiola Omisore of alleged financial impropriety.
APC National Working Committee, at the end of its 128th meeting, also explained that its proposed appointment of external auditors was not aimed at probing or witch-hunting any past member of the party.
The APC NWC rebuttal is coming two months after former National Vice Chairman (North-West), Dr. Salihu Lukman accused Adamu and Omisore of squandering N30 billion realised during the sales of nomination forms for the 2023 elections.
Lukman had made the allegation in a statement titled: ‘Rebuilding the APC to Reform Nigerian Politics: Task Before President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.’
The Kaduna politician noted that critical issues of party funding have been relegated to the background because no defined funding framework has been established.
New APC National Secretary, Senator Ajibola Basiru, who addressed newsmen on Tuesday, stated there is a need to clear the air to avoid misconception in the public.
He said, “I think it is good to say we should not misrepresent the reasons for the resignation of our chairman. I don’t know where you got the financial recklessness you are talking about with due respect.
“On the issue of external auditors, it has been the routine of our party to appoint external auditors and it is a standard procedure and practice everywhere. It has nothing to do with the resignation of any officer of our party.
“And if you go back, there has not been a year that the party account has not been audited by external auditors.”
Bashir was flanked at the media parley by National Publicity Secretary of APC, Felix Morka, and Deputy National Women Leader, Hajiya Zainab Ibrahim.
Basiru also backed President Bola Tinubu’s 48 ministerial nominees forwarded to the Senate.
While justifying the action, the former Senate spokesman said it is within the prerogative of the president as the constitution of the country also permitted him to appoint a minimum of 37 ministers.
“Opinion is free and heterogeneous in a democratic society. So that should be made very clear. By the Constitution of Nigeria, every state is expected to have at least a ministerial nominee. For the first time, a president appointed a nominee from the FCT for which the people of Abuja were happy.
“So it is mandated that you must have a minimum of 37 ministers by constitutional provisions. So there is nothing wrong with adding an additional 10. I think it is the prerogative of the executive. Section 5 of the Constitution is clear that the president is vested with executive powers, which he may exercise directly, personally, or through ministers that he has appointed.
“That said anybody is free to make comments as to the size of the ministers and as to the compositions of the ministers. And mind you, Section 1 Subsection 1 of the same constitution says Nigeria shall be governed in accordance with the Constitution. The President has not done anything that is outside the confines of the Constitution,” he stated.
In a related development, the APC national publicity secretary also corroborated Basiru’s position on the finances of the party.
Morka stated that the NWC meeting, which was also the first outing of the Abdullahi Ganduje-led leadership of the party deliberated on some internal matters and the need for a wider consultation on the issue of filling the vacant offices in line with the directive of the APC NEC.
He said, “We dealt with matters regarding the finances of the party with our new chairman and secretary. It was important to bring them up to date with where we are with our finances as a party so that they can be on the same page with those of us who have been here.
“It was important we update them as senior officers of the party so they will know how effectively to play their role. We did discuss as well some internal matters, issues on the systems, how to improve our internal processes to ensure that we continue to be effective and efficient.
“Regarding the questions on the vacancies in the NWC, as you can imagine, we just came off NEC a few days ago and consultations are ongoing at the moment. I think that in due course, we will be considering the question of filling the remaining vacant positions in the NWC.”
Aside from the slots of National Deputy Chairman for North, Senator Abubakar Kyari, and National Women Leader, Dr Betta Edu who will be departing for Tinubu’s cabinet, the positions of former National Vice Chairman for North-West, Mallam Salihu Lukman, and National Legal Adviser, Ahmad El-Marzuq who recently quit the party will be up for grabs.
Other vacant positions include Deputy National Publicity Secretary, formerly occupied by Murtala Ajaka, who is running for the office of Kogi governor on the platform of Social Democratic Party and National Welfare Officer, which was previously occupied by the late Friday Nwosu